Nnamdi Augustine IWU 15/3/2022

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

Nnamdi Augustine IWU

Hearing: 15 March 2022

at Auckland South Corrections Facility via MS Teams

Members of the Board: Ms M Coleman (Panel Convenor)

Mr C King

Mr C Roberts

Counsel: Mr M Hamlin

Interpreter: [withheld]

In Attendance: [withheld] (Case Manager)

DECISION OF THE BOARD

  1. Nnamdi Augustine Iwu, who is 43, appeared before the Board today for the first consideration of parole on an 18-year sentence, for the importation of methamphetamine and the possession of methamphetamine for supply.
  2. Mr Iwu was described by the Judge as the senior member and prime mover of the New Zealand Group.
  3. Mr Iwu’s statutory release date is 28 March 2033.
  4. Mr Iwu was last before the Board in March 2021.  It noted he had completed the MIRP and the associated maintenance.  However, realistically he did not seek parole.  He was (and still is) facing deportation and did not have a firm release proposal.  The Board also noted that he had made a refugee status application which had yet to be heard.  The Board asked for clarification of that application for this hearing.
  5. Mr Iwu was represented at today’s hearing by Mr Hamlin.  He is being represented by a different lawyer in relation to his refugee application.
  6. We understand from speaking to Mr Hamlin and Mr Iwu that progress on the refugee application has stalled, because his immigration lawyer has not been able to speak face-to-face with Mr Iwu.  The PCO at the hearing today indicated he would make a laptop available for AVL meetings.  Mr Iwu also clarified he has applied for protected person status.  He said that two interviews have been held with Refugee Status Officer, but that particular matters of clarification have been sought following those interviews.
  7. Mr Hamlin sought a three-month standdown to firm up a release plan and to provide an update on the refugee status application.  However, in our view, matters are unlikely to have progressed significantly in three months.  At present, Mr Iwu has no right to reside in New Zealand which means he has no right to work and no right to income support.  That will change if he is granted refugee status, but with a sentence that does not end until 2033, it is unlikely that a Board would release him even with undertakings of support as these undertakings would be non-binding.  The risk of a return to criminal offending is likely to be considered undue.
  8. Parole today is declined.  Mr Iwu will be seen again in a year, that is in March 2023 and by the end of that month at the latest.  If his claim for refugee status is successful in the meantime, he can apply for an earlier hearing.  Similarly, if it is unsuccessful and he accepts he will be deported, he can similarly apply for an earlier hearing provided he has a strong release plan in Nigeria.

Ms M Coleman

Panel Convenor