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Otimi Remanded On Bail

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Auckland, June 24 NZPA - The man behind a scheme in which false passports and visas were alleged to have been sold to overstayers was today remanded on bail until August.

Gerard Teoi Otimi, of Mangere in South Auckland, faced three charges that by deception and without claim of right he caused a loss valued at $500 in each instance.

The offences were alleged to have happened between about June 13 and about June 18 and involved five victims.

Otimi, who had about two dozen supporters in Manukau District Court, was remanded on bail until August 5 for a pre-depositions hearing, with one condition being that he surrendered his passport.

As his case was called, his sister, Alice Otimi, sang a karanga, while his daughter, Shilo Otimi, accompanied him from the public gallery before giving him a kiss and returning to the back of the courtroom.

Earlier, before the court was in session, Otimi objected to the presence of cameras.

He told journalists that "the news media have done so much damage" in relation to the case and he had brought his own cameraman.

He also voiced his objection to police prosecutor Sergeant Lucia Oldenhof.

However, community magistrate Rae Brooker said applications for official media to record the proceedings had been granted.

One application by unofficial media had been declined.

Ms Brooker advised Otimi, who represented himself, that he should get legal advice before his next appearance.

Otimi's arrest yesterday came after police searched three properties associated with him.

His scheme involved people paying $500 for residency papers issued in the name of a Maori hapu.

Overstayers, mainly from the Pacific Islands, were allegedly told they could remain in New Zealand under the hapu's protection.

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