A lawyer has been convicted of knowingly providing false and misleading information to Immigration New Zealand during the country's first successful prosecution for human trafficking.
In 2014, Mohammed Idris Hanif provided legal services to Faroz Ali who was found guilty of human trafficking in 2016. It was the first conviction for the crime in New Zealand's history.
The fraudulent information enabled Fijian workers Ali had trafficked into New Zealand to remain in the country and be further exploited as a labour source in his gib fixing business.
Hanif gave false and misleading information to Immigration New Zealand (INZ) on the visitor visa applications submitted on behalf of the victims.
Evidence presented during a four-day trial in the Manukau District Court showed Hanif knew the reason for the Fijian victims to remain in the country was to work for Ali, INZ said in a statement.
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On five separate occasions, visa applications were submitted by Hanif that included false and misleading information, stating that the Fijian workers were genuine tourists and wished to stay longer in New Zealand to sightsee and visit family and friends.
When questioned by immigration investigators, Hanif admitted assisting with the visa applications but denied knowing it was so they could stay in the country and continue working for Ali.
Hanif will be sentenced later this year.
INZ assistant general manager Peter Devoy said: "The sole intention of Mohammed Hanif's involvement in the visa applications was to commit fraud. We will not tolerate people committing immigration fraud and today's outcome reflects this."
All the Fijian nationals have now returned home.