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Field Admits Suggesting An African Refugee Moves To Samoa

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Taito Phillp Field
Taito Phillp Field

Auckland, July 15 NZPA - Taito Phillip Field admitted he suggested to an African national he should go to Samoa on a tourist visa to avoid being deported from New Zealand, he told a jury at the High Court in Auckland today.

Taito Phillip Field faces 12 bribery and corruption charges alleging he allowed several Thai nationals whom he was helping with immigration issues to work on seven of his properties for little payment other than the costs of materials between November 2002 and October 2005.

He also faces 23 charges alleging he attempted to obstruct or pervert the course of justice during an inquiry into the corruption allegations held by Noel Ingram QC and police.

Crown prosecutor David Johnstone asked Field about assistance he gave to an African man David Saraha to travel to Samoa in September 2003. He was the spouse of a New Zealand citizen.

Mr Saraha would have to leave New Zealand because he was a former refugee claimant, Mr Johnstone said.

Mr Johnstone asked Field if he wrote to the New Zealand Immigration Service on October 1, 2003 seeking a three to four week deferral of Mr Saraha's removal so he could travel to Samoa.

"I'm not sure. It's not necessarily something I would routinely do. It depends on the person's circumstances. David Saraha made it clear he did not want to go back to Africa. His wife was very keen for him to remain in New Zealand. She was pregnant at the time and was about to give birth.

"I told him he couldn't stay in New Zealand. His wife was Samoan so I suggested her family take him in for three or four months. I knew that Samoan immigration would be likely to turn him down," Field said.

Field said he called the Samoan prime minister about it and he indicated he would give authorisation for Mr Saraha and his wife to enter Samoa on a tourist visa.

Field was expelled from the Labour Party in 2007, but continued to represent Mangere as an independent MP until defeated in last year's election.

The trial, in its 15th week, is continuing.

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