There was considerable media coverage of the Shane/Jones/Bill Liu issue over the weekend, and it seems unlikely that the story is going to die a natural death just yet.
And over at Kiwiblog, DPF has a lengthy post today summarising much of what has been revealed so far, but including a few other pieces of information that we had hitherto been unaware of. And there are still some significant unanswered questions; here's a small part of Farrar's post where he summarises Bill Liu's past, and the circumstances by which he was granted citizenship:
- Yan moved to New Zealand and purchased two properties worth $7.4m. He paid cash for them.
- Yan claims to be a member of Falun Gong, and cites this as why he left China. However Falun Gong prohibit gambling, and Yan was the largest customer of the Sky City casino.
- Paid Labour Party fund-raiser Shane Te Pou $5,000 to help his citizenship application. Te Pou (whom Clark had banned from the Beehive over ethical concerns) introduced him to Internal Affairs Minister Rick Barker. Te Pou was also campaign manager to Dover Samuels, whom his brother had also worked for.
- Samuels received a $5,000 donation from a Tamaki Wu who appears to be a fictitious person, and whose listed address is owned by Daniel Philips, brother of Shane Te Pou.
- Yan also donated $5,000 to Chris Carter and to Pansy Wong. Rick Barker also received an “anonymous” $5,000 donation the same year. It is also a matter of record that Labour held several fundraising dinners at the Jade Terrace restaurant, attended by Yan. At these dinners the “bucket” is literally passed around and no one knows how much any one individual contributed. They are reputed to sometimes raise a six figure sum in one evening.
- Barker did not recuse himself immediately on the basis of his friendship With Yan. In fact he stayed involved until quite late in the piece when he delegated the decision to Shane Jones (Jones was not the Associate DIA Minister, and any Minister could have been chosen) – the one Minister whose most senior office staffer was the brother of Shane Te Pou who was being paid to help him get citizenship.
- Jones was strongly advised not to grant citizenship, on the multiple grounds of the Interpol warrants, the criminal charges in China, the multiple identities and the ongoing investigation by Immigration NZ over whether he was even entitled to residency. Jones granted citizenship.
- Yan given citizenship by Dover Samuels in the Maori Affairs Select Committee Room on 11 August 2008, five days after the decision.
We certainly weren't aware that Shane Te Pou was banned from the Beehive over "ethical concerns". And the "Tamaki Wu" donation has a very odd look to it, especially the use of the address of Shane Jones' senior private secretary Daniel Phillips for the mysterious donor.
And as DPF notes, it's not only the Auditor-General who might be having a closer look at this whole matter; the Serious Fraud Office is now considering an investigation. That would be a logical move, given all the uncertainty over Liu's genuine identity, and his alleged frauds in other countries.
We are not for one moment suggesting that Shane Jones took a back-hander for approving Liu's citizenship application. But there are so many things here that simply do not add up, especially since Jones has attempted to justify his decision citing something that was an absolute red herring.
It will be interesting to see what the Auditor-General says; Ms Provost has indicated that her decision on whether or not to investigate will be expedited. But we remain convinced that a wider inquiry is required to protect the integrity of the system by which citizenship is granted.