WELLINGTON: A transparent ministerial inquiry will be conducted into why a Malaysian diplomat was allowed to leave New Zealand while facing an attempted rape charge and the findings will be made pubic.
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said former Treasury Secretary John Whitehead would head the inquiry into how “ambiguity” was created about New Zealand’s position on the fate of Muhammad Rizalman Ismail, a defence staff assistant at the Malaysian High Commission.
McCully said the inquiry would focus on the procedures to deal with circumstances in which a waiver of diplomatic immunity is sought by the government as well as the events in relation to the Malaysian diplomat.
“The inquiry report will recommend ways to rectify shortcomings and strengthen processes for the future management of diplomatic immunity cases.
“These events have had a serious impact on a young woman and undermined public confidence in the ability of the Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry. It is important that we do all we can to improve the management of these cases,” said McCully.
Rizalman was arrested on May 10 on charges of burglary and attempted rape following an alleged attack in the Wellington suburb of Brooklyn.
On the same day the ministry issued a formal request for diplomatic immunity to be waived. The request was rebuffed and Rizalman left New Zealand on May 22. –The New Zealand Herald, Dominion Post