Peters condemns benefit bungle

By Jared Savage, Newstalk ZB

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Salam Al-Bawi did not declare he had a criminal record when he arrived in New Zealand. Photo / Greg Bowker
Salam Al-Bawi did not declare he had a criminal record when he arrived in New Zealand. Photo / Greg Bowker

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says heads should roll over bureaucratic bungling that saw an illegal immigrant banned from New Zealand, still paid a $360 a week sickness benefit.

Salam Mansoor Abdelabbas Al-Bawi was sentenced to six months' home detention in 2008 after he admitted lying to New Zealand authorities in order to gain refugee status, residency, citizenship, and a passport under the name John Jacob Abrahim Joseph. He was later convicted of Companies Office charges after running a fish and chip shop as John Joseph.

In February, the former Iraqi lost an appeal to the High Court at Auckland against a ministerial decision to revoke his citizenship and passport.

He was in Germany at the time and has been refused re-entry, despite having a young son here.

It was revealed today that Al-Bawi continued to receive a benefit of $360 a week, under the name of John Joseph, despite the ruling.

Janet Grossman, head of Work and Income, said his benefit was stopped on Thursday after Weekend Herald inquiries.

Mr Peters said whoever is responsible for these bungles should be looked at and it was time people at the top were fired.

He said the situation was an absolute mess.

- NZ Herald

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