An officer of the Australian High Commission in Delhi has been found guilty of receiving ‘substantial’ sums of money and engaging in ‘dishonest and deceitful’ conduct.
A report released in April this year, by the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) found that an employee of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection had performed their duties to ‘dishonestly benefit themselves’.
“They did this by using their position to obtain visa applicant details, contacting visa applicants and their sponsors outside of work, and granting, or offering to grant, a number of visas in exchange for an unlawful financial benefit,” the report said.
The investigators found that the visa processing officer, who was a local posted at the High Commission in New Delhi, had approved multiple visas outside of policies and procedures.
The officer also received ‘substantial sums of money on at least two occasions from applicants’ sponsors, in connection with processing their visa applications, totalling nearly $10,000.
The investigation report of ‘Operation Swordfish’ noted that two particular misconduct cases bore ‘severe consequences’.
In one of the cases, “it was later determined they were a minor. As a result of the visa being granted, the applicant travelled to Australia,” Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) said.
In another incident, the employee took the money from the sponsor of the visa application. In this case, the sponsor believed he paid the visa fee correctly.
Operation Swordfish was undertaken by ACLEI’s Visa Integrity Task Force, established in 2017 to target corrupt conduct by staff in Australian and overseas posts.
Operation Swordfish commenced in 2018 with the substantive investigative activities concluding in 2018 and 2019.