Michael Field at Stuff reports:
A Chinese millionaire on trial in the High Court at Auckland for fraud boasted to immigration officials that he had MP friends who would ensure he got citizenship.
The high-ranking officials were stunned when then Cabinet minister Shane Jones approved the application one day after getting his file. They were certain Yong Ming Yan, also known as Bill Liu, who had been red-flagged by Interpol, stood little chance.
And what we have never heard is why Shane Jones granted citizenship over the advice and warnings of officials. Let alone why Liu got a special citizenship ceremony just for him in the Labour Caucus Room.
But Yan leaned back in his chair, with his arms behind his head, and said he was 99 per cent confident he would get citizenship, the court was told yesterday.
“He said he had a lot of support from members of Parliament … he was going to take them to China,” Internal Affairs case officer Olele Johannes Gambo said.
I don’t think one can be overly critical of MPs who advocated on Liu’s behalf, unaware of his background. The issue is the MP, or Minister, who was made aware by officials and ignored them.
Mr Gambo said that when Yan was told he could not have citizenship, he said friends in Parliament would ensure he got it.
Mr Jones, who refused to comment on the allegations last night, was named in court with former Labour MP Dover Samuels.
The court was told Yan was sworn in as a citizen within a day of Mr Jones approving citizenship.
In the Labour Caucus Room. One can only assume he was told of the approval directly by the Minister and/or a Labour MP, who then arranged the ceremony.
Obviously the MPs involved can not comment during the trial. But once the trial is over, there can be no more dodging of accountability.