13 June 2012

New Zealand visa scam tricks thousands of Tongans

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Thousands of Tongans have fallen victim to a New Zealand visa scam which has left many requiring urgent assistance from the government.

New Zealand visa

New Zealand immigration authorities are urging anyone affected by the scam to contact them.

Fetongi Malupo of Auckland had been targeting Auckland churches and other places where large numbers of Tongans congregate and offering to sell them a New Zealand visa for as little as NZ$300 (£150). Malupo convinced his unsuspecting victims that he had a contract with the NZ government and the visa would allow them to remain in the country indefinitely.

New Zealand immigration authorities have refuted Malupo's claims and urged anyone affected to contact them to resolve the issue.

"If you don't have a visa from Immigration New Zealand [INZ], it's not a legitimate one and if it has been secured by paying money it's just a scam," said an INZ spokesperson.

NZ news agency ONE News contacted Malupo regarding the scheme, he maintained he was only trying to help the Tongan community.

"I helped my people, that is the only purpose from it," said Malupo. "It was worth taking a risk and if it doesn't work it doesn't work."

Malupo claimed it was another man, Kolini Tatafu, who had benefitted financially from the scheme. ONE News had previous investigated Tatafu for his part in a pensioner housing scheme in 2004.

Malupo has apologised for his part in the scam and promised to return any money he has retained..

The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy that specialises in helping people apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa.

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