Immigration New Zealand Welcomes Conviction Of Rotorua Man Ravinder Reddy Palli For Impersonating An Officer

Immigration New Zealand Welcomes Conviction Of Rotorua Man Ravinder Reddy Palli For Impersonating An Officer

Rotorua Daily Post

15 Aug, 2021 09:00 PM3 minutes to read

A former Rotorua businessman originally from India has been convicted for impersonating an immigration officer and carrying fake guns. Photo / NZME

A former Rotorua businessman originally from India has been convicted for impersonating an immigration officer and carrying fake guns. Photo / NZME

Immigration New Zealand has welcomed the conviction of Rotorua man fined for impersonating an immigration officer and carrying imitation firearms.

Ravinder Reddy Palli, 39, a former businessman from Rotorua, appeared in the Rotorua District Court on Wednesday for sentencing before Judge Garry Collin.

He was fined $300 and ordered to pay court costs of $130 on each charge after earlier pleading guilty to a charge of pretending to be an immigration officer – a charge brought under the Immigration Act that carried a maximum prison sentence of four months.

He also pleaded guilty to two counts of presenting an imitation firearm, which each carried a maximum sentence of one year in prison.

Through his lawyer, Tim Braithwaite, Palli had fought to keep his name secret and to have the charges thrown out, on the grounds of undue hardship. Palli said he had lost his marriage and his business and would be forced to go back to India, away from his child in New Zealand.

However, Judge Collin dismissed the request for several reasons, including it being in the public interest that Palli’s offending be known.

Judge Collin noted the offending had “sinister undertones” which he said he couldn’t ignore.

Palli and an unknown man, who wasn’t charged, went to a woman’s house on Sunday, November 8 last year and spoke to her about her son’s upcoming deportation file and issues relating to a lawyer payment he wanted to receive for providing assistance.

Palli told the woman “the whole of the Bay of Plenty is under my control for the protection” and for his safety, the Government had given him firearms.

As he explained that, he lifted up the front of his shirt and exposed the two imitation firearms.

Police later went to Palli’s house and found the two imitation firearms.

The Rotorua Daily Post asked if this type of offending concerned the ministry.

In a written response from the ministry’s communications team, ministry verification and compliance general manager Geoff Scott said it was an offence under the Immigration Act 2009 to impersonate an immigration officer.

“Whenever immigration officers interact with members of the public they will always identify themselves using their Immigration New Zealand warrant cards.”

Scott said immigration officers would never visit a private residence to ask for payment of visa fees.

He said Immigration New Zealand encouraged the public to notify either Immigration New Zealand or the police should they suspect someone was acting unlawfully in this way.

“INZ welcomes the conviction of Ravinder Reddy Palli, and do not tolerate this type of offending.”

As part of his sentence, Palli was ordered to pay $1500 reparation to the victim in a lump sum within 21 days.

ozens of Afghan interpreters and their families have put their faith in the New Zealand Government to help them out of an apparently hopeless situation.

Cabinet is set to meet on Monday to review desperate immigration cases of former interpreters and other civilians who helped the New Zealand war effort in Afghanistan.

The group of 38 Newshub spoke to is holed up – with the Taliban bearing down on them in Bamyan Province, not far from the base the Kiwis pulled out of just a few months ago.

“He says – ‘my name is Abdul Aziz, this is a crisis’,” one says through interpreter Basir Ahmad.

Newshub Former interpreters and other civilians who helped us in Afghanistan have issued a desperate plea for help with immigration. But time is running out.

“He says the Taliban has surrounded us and he says if you don’t help us they will kill our family and our kids.”

This is no hyperbole or exaggeration – it is literally a matter of life and death.

When Newshub spoke to the group last night, they told us the Taliban were just a few kilometres away and they were going to climb a mountain to avoid them.

The Taliban have taken back control of great swathes of Afghanistan, spreading their specific brand of terror.

Ali Reza worked as a carpenter for the New Zealand Defence Force for 12 years. He’s one of 38 former employees and their families huddled together in Bamyan Province begging for help.

“If the Taliban find me then 100 percent they will kill me,” he says.

Basir Ahmad was an interpreter whose work included going on dangerous patrol missions with frontline Kiwi troops.

“The situation right now is everyone is running, and we were told tonight that Bamyan will be surrendered to the Taliban,” he says.

Earlier this year, after 20 years, the Defence Force ended its involvement in Afghanistan. In total it cost 10 Kiwi lives and $300 million.

So far 140 former Afghan employees and their families have been resettled here.

But many others have had immigration applications declined – including Basir Ahmad just last year. He says he’s now directly in the Taliban’s crosshairs.

“Everyone knows exactly what we did, what was our job,” he says.

“What I can say is we have already been identified – I think their people have identified us previously. They are just waiting for the regime to change – and I think the first thing they will do is retaliate against us.”

Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi says the Government is now reviewing resettling others saying: “I have asked officials for advice on what could be done, how many people might be eligible and how the NZDF might ascertain who would be eligible.”

“I’m trying if I can to separate the two matters of what is happening in Afghanistan at the moment and of course those looking to finding refuge if you like here in New Zealand,” adds Minister of Defence Peeni Henare.

But our Government has to move quickly. In just a few short weeks the Taliban has retaken control of much of the country and the capital Kabul is now all but surrounded.

It began the second the United States announced a date for its troop departure, effectively the diarising of defeat.

And as the Afghani government forces retreat they leave behind the spoils of war. The Taliban now driving American military vehicles.

“Tonight I don’t know what will happen to us,” Ahmad says.

Since speaking to the group last night, Newshub hasn’t been able to get back in touch – we don’t even know if they’re still alive.

A sign of just how quickly our Government has to move if it wants to help save the lives of those that helped our troops survive in their war-torn country.

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