The Department of Home Affairs has refused to respond to allegations Minister Dutton and those around him may be corrupt. Investigations editor Ross Jones reports.
ON THURSDAY, 14 February 2019, IA wrote to the Department of Home Affairs. It was the day after we published an article setting out allegations, made by a detainee in Perth Immigration Detention Centre, that Peter Dutton’s Home Affairs Department – and possibly Dutton himself – were on the take.
I emailed Dutton's press secretary, Nicole Chant:
I received a phone call today from Alex in the Minister’s office regarding the recently published article
Alex advised you would supply a response to the matters raised in this article.
I look forward receiving the Department’s advice.
Ross Jones | Investigations Editor
Nicole didn’t reply, but Dutton’s Department did:
From: Media Operations <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Please attribute the response below to a spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs.
Decisions under section 501 to cancel, refuse or revoke a mandatory cancellation may be made by the Minister or a delegated Departmental decision-maker.
Ministerial Direction 65 provides lawful direction to delegated departmental decision-makers in exercising their discretion under section 501 of the Act.
The Department takes all allegations of misconduct and corruption seriously.
The Department has a robust Integrity Framework in order to deter misconduct and to proactively detect and respond to corruption risks.
The Department works closely with our integrity and law enforcement partners to investigate allegations of misconduct and corruption.
Department of Home Affairs
There is no doubt Dutton and his henchpeople were hoping that would be that — the issue palmed off with weasel-speak.
But it was not to be.
On Monday 18 February the Sydney Morning Herald ran its version of the story:
Hundreds of foreign criminals are being handed back their cancelled visas
In one case expected to be raised in Parliament this week, William Sualauvi Betham was granted freedom and is now enjoying life on the Gold Coast despite being jailed for more than ten years in 2008 over his role in a drug trafficking syndicate.
The cat was now out of the bag.
And the SMH went further, adding:
'Hundreds of foreigners who had their visas cancelled after committing serious crimes are being spared deportation by national security officials.'
Later that day, Secretary of the Department of Home Affairs Michael Pezzullo told a Senate Estimates Committee the Department had “launched an investigation into the [Betham] matter”.
But that’s not exactly what they did next.
What happened next is that Border Force started putting the frighteners on the whistleblowing detainee, Nauroze Anees.
Our friends over at True Crime News Weekly announced:
'True Crime News Weekly can now reveal the “remarkable” audio that proves that Border Force indeed visited the man to discuss his “removal” from Australia just hours after his explosive claims hit the mainstream media.'
#Dutton— #StopGreed (@daveyk317) February 26, 2019
SHOCKING AUDIO! “BRIBES FOR VISAS”! Listen to the very moment Border Force tried to deport man after he blew whistle on alleged immigration corruption: https://t.co/RAEdrVzmPU
According to the SMH, Betham’s lawyer, Jennifer Samuta, said there was nothing unusual about her client getting his visa back.
'She added her firm had acted on behalf of at least four other clients convicted of trafficking in dangerous drugs who had their cancelled visas reinstated by either the minister of the day or their delegates in the Department.'
IA called Ms Samuta to clarify exactly which ministers of the day but we must have called at a bad time. She has not yet returned our call.
The Department’s written response to our enquiry did not address what we asked. We asked for comment on an article that made direct allegations the Minister and those around him are corrupt.
Apart from intimidating the detainee and threatening an internal investigation, Dutton seems to have taken no action despite the seriousness of the allegations.
Oh, one exception.
On Tuesday 19 February, the story got an airing on Channel 10 — a station popular with swinging voters.
Immediately the show had aired Dutton issued an indignant media release:
Dutton, of course, has been a little distracted by the Paladin fiasco. At some time in the future, possibly shortly after May 2019, this little escapade might see "oops I’m no longer a Parliamentarian" Dutton facing some awkward questions from various authorities.
THE DARK KNIGHTS OF PALADIN! Mercenaries, Missing Millions, Money Laundering & the Minister responsible for one of Australia’s biggest scandals: https://t.co/nU49N9BIrf— Lord Clyde Of HANSARD MEMBER OF THE CFW 9 (@nobby15) February 18, 2019
Our enquiries indicate there’s a lot more to come out on the visa scam in the period between now and the election. There is every reason to believe the Department of Home Affairs has gone troppo.
I am now going to hand over to Nauroze Anees himself. This what he told me.
It should be noted by blowing the whistle on this I have no financial or any other incentive. If anything, blowing the whistle on this has placed my security at risk and even adversely affected my immigration appeals.
I’m now also one of the most hated persons by the most powerful Minister in Australia.
I blew the whistle for the public good, that being a pacifist in face of such wolves and tyrants only leads to endless tragedies.
Corrupt tyrants such as Dutton need to be exposed and the truth needs to be told, even when it is dangerous to do so.
Investigations editor Ross Jones is a licensed private enquiry agent the author of 'Ashbygate: The Plot to Destroy Australia's Speaker'. You can follow Ross on Twitter @RPZJones.
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