The Herald reports:
Police have charged a multi-millionaire businessman, who was granted New Zealand citizenship in controversial circumstances, with making false declarations on immigration papers and using fake identities to obtain a passport.
Yong Ming Yan – also known as Bill Liu, Yang Liu and William Yan – was supported in his citizenship bid last year by Labour MPs Dover Samuels and Chris Carter, and National MP Pansy Wong.
To be fair to Chris Carter and Pansy, they had no idea he was dodgy. Dover did know of the allegations but chose not to believe them. But most of all Shane Jones had all the details from his departments about Liu, including a very firm recommendation that he not be given citizenship. In fact even then they were talking about prosecuting him.
He appeared in Manukau District Court, and is facing 12 charges in relation to false declarations on his immigration papers, having false passports and using deception to gain citizenship.
Yan entered no plea to eight charges under the Crimes Act, two under the Passport Act and one under each under the Immigration Act and Citizenship Act.
And authorities have obviously decided there are sufficient ground to prosecute.
He was granted citizenship in a VIP ceremony in Wellington last year after lobbying from former Labour MP Dover Samuels, who regards him as a close friend.
Rick Barker, the then Internal Affairs Minister charged with approving citizenship applications, was also on the list of politicians who knew Yan. Because of this, he passed the file to another minister, Shane Jones.
Mr Jones overruled Internal Affairs advice that Liu – now Yan – did not meet character requirements and granted him citizenship.
Mr Jones, now the Opposition spokesman for economic development and the environment, last night declined to comment.
Sooner or later Jones need to explain why he over-rode the advice from officials. Citizenship is not a right for people not born here, and those who get it should be of sound character. DIA did not think he was. Was Jones influenced by Liu’s donations to political parties and candidates? Was he convinced by his mate’s lobbying? Whatever it was, we need to know. If Liu is convicted, there should be a formal external inquiry into why he was granted citizenship.