A former Home Affairs employee who used their position to assist a family member’s immigration has been sentenced to 18 months in jail but will serve the time in the community under a good behaviour bond.
The former staff member, Harbir Singh, pleaded guilty in a Perth court to charges including abuse of public office and unauthorised access to commonwealth data.
A Home Affairs and Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity investigation had alleged he unlawfully accessed immigration records and provided assistance to a relative and sponsor business.
The offence occurred between late-2014 and mid-2017 and resulted in the relative and his family being allowed to enter Australia.
Singh had unlawfully accessed records related to the relative and his family 50 times, with timing consistent with the lodgement of visa applications.
“The joint investigation found Mr Singh had no legitimate business need to access these records,” a statement from ACLEI says.
“The potential corrupt activity was initially detected by the department following reports of Mr Singh’s suspicious behaviour.”
As part of the court sentencing, Singh will also pay a $25,000 security bond.
Integrity Commissioner ACLEI head Jaala Hinchcliffe welcomed the court’s decision, saying the “conduct is incompatible with the responsibilities of an immigration officer involved in visa processing”.
“This case is an example of a conflict of interest undermining the impartial exercise of a public servant’s duties,” Hinchcliffe said.