New Zealand lawyer convicted of fraud in human trafficking case
11 May 2018
A New Zealand court has found a lawyer guilty of providing false information to immigration officials in a human trafficking case.
Auckland lawyer Mohammed Idris Hanif had provided legal services to Faroz Ali. In 2016, the Auckland High Court found Ali guilty of the human trafficking of Fijian workers. Ali had promised good wages, food and accommodation to the Fijians if they worked in New Zealand. But the workers were only paid a fraction of what they had been offered and given visitors' visas rather than work permits. The court found Ali guilty of human trafficking, exploitation, and aiding and abetting the workers to enter and remain in the country illegally. He was jailed for nine years and six months.
Lawyer Hanif had helped Ali with the visa applications. Hanif has now been hauled before the Manukau District Court for his role in the human trafficking. Immigration officials told the court that Hanif provided false and misleading information on the applications as he stated that the Fijian workers were in New Zealand as tourists to sight-see and visit friends and family.
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Hanif admitted helping with the visa applications but denied any knowledge of the Fijians working in the country. However, the prosecution provided evidence to the court to show that Hanif knew full-well that the Fijians were working for Ali. The court convicted Hanif of knowingly providing false and misleading information to immigration officials. He will be sentenced in August.
A spokesman for Immigration New Zealand said that "we will not tolerate people committing immigration fraud
" and the court's decision "reflects this".