Ministers answered 43 questions on corruption
Lockwood Smith MP National Party Immigration Spokesman
21 May 2008
Immigration: Ministers answered 43 questions on corruption
"Labour Ministers claiming to be in the dark about corruption allegations at the Immigration Service have previously answered 43 questions about it," says National Party Immigration spokesman Lockwood Smith.
"The claim that they were 'blindsided' by the problems within immigration is laughable. Minister David Cunliffe answered 27 written questions relating to dodgy dealings within the department, and his successor, Clayton Cosgrove, has answered 16 questions (**see attachment).
"These are official documents which have been signed out by the Ministers, so any claim they did not know about the extent of the problem is difficult to accept."
In the 117 internal investigations initiated in 2006, investigators found 33 cases of improper behaviour and three of corruption. Of those 36 investigations, 15 related to theft, with the persons responsible not known.
"For Ministers to claim the problems at immigration are new, beggars belief."
Dr Smith has also released today the terms of reference from the Oughton inquiry into the residencies granted to Mary Anne Thompson's family (**see attachment).
"The very first thing that those terms say is that the inquiry was about 'Government Residence Policy', not the employment matter which Ministers have claimed.
"It's clear from those terms of reference, that far from being an employment matter, this was about policy, and Ministers are responsible for that.
"Labour Ministers need not wait for the Auditor-General to conduct an investigation before they give the public their side of the story.
"These guys answered question after question on corruption within immigration, so it is beyond me how they can now claim ignorance."