10 Sep 2015

Former immigration officer sentenced for bribery

5:46 pm on 10 September 2015

A former immigration officer, who a judge said had used his public position for his own advantage, has been sentenced to eight months' home detention for accepting bribes.

Meng Yam Lim, also known as Peter Lim, appeared at the Auckland District Court today for sentencing after pleading guilty to corruption and bribery charges.

Lim worked as a border immigration officer at the Auckland International Airport

His associate, Kooi Leng Pan, knew two people who were trying to get visas, one of whom was an over-stayer.

Lim and Pan charged the pair $26,500 to prepare visa applications.

One of the visas was granted but the over-stayer's application was rejected and Lim and Pan eventually refunded $20,000.

Judge Fraser said the offending was serious and would ordinarily attract a prison sentence.

He said Lim used his public position for personal gain, but he said in the end, Lim had no influence over the visa process.

Pan's lawyer had asked for a lesser community sentence but Judge Fraser rejected that and said she was fortunate she wasn't going to jail.

Judge Fraser took time off their sentences for remorse, previous clean records, and early guilty pleas.

Lim was sentenced to eight months home detention, while Pan will serve six months.

The pair's offending came to light after an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

SFO Director Julie Read said in a statement that corruption was not a way of life in New Zealand and this country had a reputation as one of the least corrupt in the world.

She said the SFO was committed to upholding that reputation.