Of­fi­cial ex­plains how Sroubek de­ci­sion made

The Southland Times - - National News - Col­lette De­vlin col­lette.de­vlin@stuff.co.nz

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 LeesGal­loway 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 Sroubek file was sev­eral hun­dred pages long, with a 12-page sum­mary.

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.

Im­mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter Iain Lees-Gal­loway made the de­ci­sion to grant Karel Sroubek res­i­dency in less than an hour and with­out read­ing the full file. WAR­WICK SMITH/STUFF

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