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McCully gets 'disappointing' report on Malaysian diplomat case


Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has received a "disappointing" report on how the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade bungled its handling of a serious sex case against a Mayalsian diplomat.

Muhammud Rizalman Source: 1 Sport

But he is refusing to release the findings until after the diplomat has faced trial.

Mohammed Rizalman, 38, who worked at the Malaysian High Commission, was allowed to leave New Zealand in May despite facing a serious sexual assault charge.

Mr McCully says he has received findings on MFAT's handling of the case, but Crown Law has advised him that its findings and relevant documentation cannot be released until after Mr Rizalman's trial.

The former Malaysian diplomatic attaché returned to Wellington last month.

He has pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting a woman with intent to rape her and burglary.

Mr McCully says the conclusions reached by the author of the report, Jonathan Whitehead, are "not surprising, but they are disappointing."

"At the heart of the matter is a single email, events surrounding which are carefully canvassed.

"Through a number of procedural shortcomings, the Ministry (of Foreign Affairs and Trade) led the Malaysian Government to a view on Mr Rizalman's return to Malaysia that was different from the long standing policy of the New Zealand government on diplomatic immunity," he says.

Mr McCully says Jonathan Whitehead's report makes 21 recommendations for procedural changes designed to ensure that there is no repetition of these events.

He has forwarded the report to MFAT's Chief Executive, directing that all 21 recommendations are "implemented forthwith, and leaving him to consider any disciplinary issues that arise."