17 Dec 2014

MFAT boss told to consider disciplinary action

8:14 am on 17 December 2014

The head of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade has been told to consider taking disciplinary action, in the light of a ministerial inquiry into the Malaysian diplomat botch-up earlier this year.

MFAT chief executive John Allen has ordered an inquiry.

MFAT chief executive John Allen has been told to consider disciplinary issues. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Foreign Minister Murray McCully received the report yesterday and said a single email was at the heart of the bungle.

The inquiry has found the ministry gave the Malaysian government the wrong impression when it allowed its employee Muhammad Rizalman, who was facing an attempted rape charge, to claim diplomatic immunity and leave the country.

On the advice of Crown Law, Mr McCully is not releasing the report publicly until after Mr Rizalman's trial next year. Crown Law fears publication of the report could jeopardise Mr Rizalman's right to a fair trial.

Mr McCully said the report made 21 specific recommendations for procedural changes at the Ministry to ensure there was no repetition of the events.

He wanted the ministry to implement the inquiry's recommendations and has directed its chief executive, John Allen, to consider disciplinary issues stemming from the inquiry.

Mr Rizalman is currently on bail after returning to New Zealand in October following extradition proceedings.

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