A man who emigrated to New Zealand has been convicted twice for sex offending since his arrival in 2012 - including while on bail - but will not be deported if his record stays clean for the next five years.

The decision by immigration officials has been criticised, particularly as the man did not complete any rehabilitation programmes or offence-related courses in prison.

The Herald can reveal that Sultan Ali Abdul Ali Akbari arrived in New Zealand from Afghanistan in October 2012 on a resident visa.

In February 2013 Akbari indecently assaulted a woman and was convicted.


Then in 2015 he was jailed for two years and one month for five charges of indecent acts on girls aged 8 and 10 and indecently assaulting an 18-year-old.

That offending happened while Akbari was on bail awaiting trial on the 2013 charge.

At sentencing in the Auckland District Court a pre sentence report stated Akbari's risk of reoffending was "moderate to high".

"They assess your risk of harm as high - noting in particular an escalation in offending," said Judge Kevin Glubb, also Akbari showed no remorse.

He imposed a sentence of two years and one month in prison, saying the offending was "serious".

In January Akbari, now 58, was granted parole - despite the board finding that a lack of English had resulted in Akbari making "no progress" in prison.

He did not complete programmes to address his offending..

Despite that, the board agreed to release Akbari, saying the "support structures wrapped around" the sex offender and plans to keep him "safe from such future allegations arising" were factors likely to ensure he did not reoffend.

"We do not see his risk level improving by remaining in prison and are satisfied that it may regarded now as no longer undue," convener Judge Paul Gittos said.


Akbari was released in February with a number of conditions that will remain in place until September including a curfew and not associating with young people unsupervised.

He is living with family in the wider Auckland area.

Auckland District Court. New Zealand Herald photograph by Nick Reed
Auckland District Court. New Zealand Herald photograph by Nick Reed

The Herald can reveal Akbari holds a residency visa but has been granted a deportation liability suspension, removing the ability to deport him back to Afghanistan for five years.

Suspensions can only be granted by the Immigration Minister or a "delegated decision maker".

In this case a senior INZ official granted Akbari's suspension.

Immigration spokesman Marc Piercey said: "It's important to note that if this individual reoffends within the five year suspension period he will breach the conditions of his suspension and will be liable for deportation."

"The risk of reoffending is one of a number of relevant factors which was considered by the decision-maker.

"Other factors included family connections and support in New Zealand, as well as the conditions in the relevant home country and the reasons and circumstances which resulted in a grant of residence in this case in the first place."

Immigration Minister Woodhouse Michael Woodhouse did not comment and Piercey said that because he did not make the decision directly, he "has no legal ability to review" it.

Whoever makes such a decision has "absolute discretion" and there is no obligation for them to provide any reasons.

A residency visa-holder who is convicted of a criminal offence can be deported under section 161 of the Immigration Act 2009.

A deportation liability suspension can only be given to a person who has held a residence-class visa for two years or less and cannot exceed five years.

Factors considered in deportation cases included the nature and seriousness of the offending, the likelihood of reoffending, letters of support from family and friends, submissions from the victims and circumstances in the individual's home country.

If the person offends during the suspension a further assessment is undertaken to consider if the deportation liability should be reactivated.

Victim advocate Ruth Money said the decision to let Akbari stay in New Zealand was "outrageous".

"It's astounding that a team within INZ feels they can allow this recidivist sex offender to remain in New Zealand," she said.

"I think it shows they are out of touch with what the public needs and wants and, that they are not putting the safety of the public first.

"I challenge them to find anyone in New Zealand that would look at this man's record and not deport him."

Money said the decision was "dangerous" and "ridiculous".

"He has not been rehabilitated, so he needs to be removed.

"It's a disgrace that this INZ decision maker has allowed this."

Akbari's lawyer said he could not comment on the situation.

Sex offender can stay - but others sent packing

However, Immigration New Zealand has permitted him to stay in New Zealand.

Earlier this month it was revealed caregiver Juliet Garcia, who has lived in the Far North for a decade, was told she had just days to leave the country .

Garcia and her husband, who works full time at Pak'nSave renewed their work visas annually since arriving here and both have paid for three-yearly health checks.

But this year Garcia's renewal was declined and she received a letter from Immigration NZ saying that she had until days to leave the country.

In February Vikram Salaria, his wife Asha Rani and their toddler Khwahish were threatened with deportation because Indian education agents submitted fraudulent bank loan approval documents to show that the students could pay their tuition fees.

Yet INZ has allowed Akbari - a recidivist sex offender - to stay.

In 2016 there were 188 residents granted a deportation liability suspension, and a further 210 in 2015.

This year, up until April 13, there were 35 suspensions granted.

Immigration New Zealand could not give further detail about the suspensions.

In October the Herald revealed that 415 people were deported from New Zealand after being convicted of criminal offending between the 2011 and September 8.

INZ refused to divulge the details of their crimes because the information wasn't available "without substantial collation or research".