Official explains how Sroubek decision made
Immigration New Zealand has confirmed the case file used to grant Karel Sroubek residency was hundreds of pages long, with a 12-page summary, and did not include documentation showing the Czech drug smuggler had returned to Europe.
It has since received information from Czech authorities and expects to complete its investigation into the case next week.
On Thursday, it was revealed Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway made the residency decision in less than an hour and did not read the full file.
The minister said he read ‘‘aspects’’ of the file.
Immigration NZ general manager Stephen Dunstan confirmed yesterday the Sroubek file was ‘‘several hundred’’ pages long, with sentencing judges’ notes appended.
The ‘‘really good summary’’ was about 12 pages long, he said.
The construction of files going to the minister had been done the same way for 15 years, he said.
The standard practice included reasons why the person was liable; the person’s immigration history; details about any convictions; the client’s personal circumstances; and any comments they wanted to make; which were sometimes quite extensive, Dunstan said.
Sroubek’s file would have included details of his convictions, including the judges’ sentencing notes. Dunstan suggested the file did not contain documents that showed Sroubek returned to Europe.
When asked if the minister had documentation that showed Sroubek had returned to Europe, Dunstan said: ‘‘That wasn’t in the file – I don’t want to get into the file too much because obviously there is an investigation under way.’’
When asked if the file contained information about what Sroubek got up to in the Czech Republic, he said immigration did not usually provide that information.
The information would be based on a particular conviction that made the person liable for deportation. If information was missing, then it was not relevant to a decision a minister was going to make or immigration did not hold it, Dunstan said.
During sitting weeks the minister would have one day to look at ‘‘quite large’’ case files and often there were between two and five put before the minister at any one time, Dunstan said.
Stuff asked Lees-Galloway’s office how many files he looked at on the day he made the Sroubek decision but was told that information could not yet be provided.
Senior officials, familiar with all the material, would also have been in the room with the minister to answer his questions, Dunstan said.
Immigration officials ran a robust process gathering information for a minister.
No recommendations were included. ‘‘That is at the absolute discretion of the decision maker,’’ Dunstan said.
Last week Lees-Galloway ordered a review when information came to light that ‘‘directly contradicted’’ what he relied upon when making his decision.
Immigration NZ went back to Czech authorities as part of its investigation and got some information from them, which was being looked at, Dunstan said.
The review by Immigration NZ’s compliance team was making good progress and he was hopeful it would be completed next week.
But any findings would also need to be provided to Sroubek to ensure the process was ‘‘squeaky clean’’, Dunstan said.
It is understood the investigation was examining new allegations that Sroubek had already been back to the Czech Republic, and his ex-wife no longer supported his application.
The Sroubek file was several hundred pages long, with a 12-page summary.
Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway made the decision to grant Karel Sroubek residency in less than an hour and without reading the full file.