A former member of Robert Mugabe’s secret police who admitted to rape and murder has left New Zealand, after the Immigration Minister refused him a work visa.
The Zimbabwean man, who called himself William Nduku, arrived here on a fake South African passport in 2015.
Details of his attempts to stay in New Zealand are contained in official documents obtained by RNZ.
Those documents also indicated a second person, in similar circumstances, was being considered for protection under the Convention Against Torture in late 2015.
While New Zealand authorities questioned whether William Nduku was the Zimbabwean man’s real name, that was how he identified himself while he was in New Zealand.
He told immigration officials he feared being tortured if he returned to Zimbabwe at the hands of the Zimbabwe Central Intelligence Office, or secret police.
That allowed Mr Nduku to claim the status of a Protected Person – that gave him limited rights to stay in New Zealand as Protected Persons cannot be deported, but he was not legally allowed to work.
Through his lawyer, Deborah Manning, he applied for a work visa under a provision of the Immigration Act that allows the minister to grant visas in special cases.
He was released from Immigration custody in November 2015, and the police were advised.
He told Fairfax Media earlier this year “he was forced to serve in Mugabe’s secret police and participated in up to 20 murders, several rapes and multiple tortures”.
At the time, Prime Minister, Bill English said the public was right to be worried about Mr Nduku staying in New Zealand but “authorities had to follow the law” in considering his application.
Last November, Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse refused to grant Mr Nduku a work visa and he left here in March, but it is not known what country he was heading to.
Meanwhile, emails between Immigration New Zealand officials refer to “two refugee claims cases” where the applicants were seeking Protected Person status, but there were no other details about who the other person was, or about their background.
One email from a Refugee Service Branch manager, Dougal Ellis, in November 2015, raised the point that having people in New Zealand who may have committed serious crimes, including war crimes, “suggests there may be grounds for investigation and prosecution for international crimes in New Zealand which is mandated by other treaty commitments”.
He went on to say from a “policy perspective”, people with protected status should not be allowed to “get off ‘scot free’ without at least making some effort to address international law and natural justice”, and suggested referral to the police would be a good first step.