Public servant sentenced for accessing immigration information

A former Department of Home Affairs employee who accessed immigration information without authority more than fifty times to help out a family member has been ordered to enter an eighteen month good behaviour bond.

Integrity Commissioner Jaala Hinchcliffe

Harbir Singh pleaded guilty in a Perth court to two counts of abuse of public office and ten counts of unauthorised access to Commonwealth data following a joint investigation by the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) and Home Affairs.

The department was first alerted to potentially corrupt activity by Singh following reports of suspicious behaviour.

It was alleged Singh provided unlawful immigration assistance to a relative identified as Mr A and Mr A’s business sponsor between December 2014 and May 2017 relating to sponsorship, nomination and visa applications, ACLEI said.

As a result, the relative and his family were able to enter Australia.

The investigation found Singh unlawfully accessed records in relation to Mr A and his family more than fifty times.

Intergrity Commissioner and head of ACLEI, Jaala Hinchcliffe, said the case was an example of a conflict of interest undermining the impartial exercise of a public servant’s duties.

“Mr Singh’s conduct is incompatible with the responsibilities of an immigration officer involved in visa processing,” she said in a statement following the court’s decision last week.

The court sentenced Singh to 18 months jail but allowed him to enter into an 18 month good behaviour bond with $25,000 surety.

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