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Immigration officer in court

Published: 6:35PM Tuesday February 03, 2004

An immigration officer has appeared in court, charged with conning thousands of dollars out of overseas visitors leaving New Zealand.

Manjit Singh was investigated after several people complained they had been made to pay compensation to the Immigration Service.

The 35-year-old from Hamilton faced four theft charges, including theft by a person in a special relationship.

The charges cover a total of just over $2000 and two motor vehicles valued at just over $3000 and are alleged to have occurred between July 2001 and November last year.

Singh has spent 15 years working for immigration and his most recent post was as a border and investigations officer in Hamilton - a job that included dealing with foreign nationals being deported or returned to their country.

Detective Inspector Stuart Allsopp-Smith from Counties-Manukau says Immigration uses a system designed to try to recover the costs of repatriating people to other countries - saving the taxpayer the money.

He says it was irregularities arising out of that process that led to the investigation, and the arrest.

The Immigration Service says in a statement that there is no evidence after an extensive inquiry that any other staff are implicated.

Singh is on bail and will be back in court in three weeks.

Police haven't ruled out further charges.

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