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Tongan family has passports returned

Published: 6:25PM Thursday June 14, 2012 Source: ONE News

One of the Tongan families involved in an immigration scam in South Auckland has managed to reclaim eight of the family's passports.

Mele Finau lost possession of the passports in December after giving them to Auckland man Fetongi Malupo under the promise of gaining New Zealand residency.

Malupo has been allegedly selling fake New Zealand residencies for almost $300. It is unclear how many passports are still outstanding.

Malupo claims he only collected the money and passports before passing them on to fellow Tongan Kolini Tatafu.

He has now promised to return money and passports to anyone who wants them but the Finau family is still waiting for the money.

In 2004 ONE News uncovered a pensioner housing scam Tatafu was running.

Tatafu could not be contacted today but Malupo said she will send him the money she took from the family and he will pass it on.

"All the money, the passports I've returned. I've returned the passport with the money, except this lot," he said.

"With the media yesterday I get people reacting. So it's a fair amount of money, so I'm waiting for it."

The Immigration Advisors Authority says it knew of the fake residency offers in May but couldn't find complainants willing to come forward.

"We encourage people who have been subject to a scam to come forward to either us or New Zealand police so we can have a look at it," registrar Barry Smedt said. "If people don't do that it just continues to happen."

Smedt says people have no reason to be afraid and the authority is an independent body established to protect people getting immigration advice.

"If a person is unlawfully in New Zealand and is afraid to contact us because we might share their information with Immigration New Zealand, I want to assure them that this will not happen. A person's immigration status in New Zealand is not of concern to us."