Nigerian accused of New Zealand immigration fraud
A Nigerian man is to stand trial in New Zealand, accused of falsifying documents in an alleged immigration scam. Anthony Okechukwu Ani, 56, is suspected of giving New Zealand authorities fake passports and forged birth certificates for some of the 10 children he was trying to bring into the country under the secondary migration scheme.
In total, Ani faces 13 charges, seven of which are for supplying false documentation about his children. He is also accused of lying in an immigration interview, giving false information on his visa application form and using a fake passport himself. He, however, denies all the charges and is due to stand trial in Auckland in October.
Ani was arrested as part of Operation Naira, which reviewed dozens of immigration cases in 2010. Four men has so far been convicted of some kind of immigration fraud, and more than 40 residency applications, most of them made by family members of the defendants, have since been refused.
According to the Department of Labour, cracking down on immigration fraud helps save both the government and the tax payer a packet. The agency estimates that after excluding costs to the taxpayer such as healthcare, education, legal aid and state housing, each case of immigration fraud costs the country around $28,550.
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