New smuggler route ‘claimed’

 Abbas Allami

Abbas Allami

Alleged Mildura people smuggler Abbas Allami claimed he had a new “route” to New Zealand and a boat ready to take passengers who were waiting in Indonesia, a court has heard.

Allami, 39, has denied trying to smuggle passengers from Indonesia to Australia by boat, pleading not guilty to aggravated people smuggling.

He said he had been wrongly identified by key witness Kadhim Al-Shareeda who said Allami – who he knew as Qaisar – worked for the smuggling ring he paid to try to get him and his family of six to Australia by boat in late 2013.

Mr Al-Shareeda, an Iraqi citizen, eventually made it to Christmas Island with a different smuggler after coming to the conclusion Allami’s alleged boss, Abu Tarek, was lying to him and trying to rip him off, after a series of run-ins with the police and failed attempts to get on boats.

The trial at the County Court in Melbourne yesterday heard the first of a series of recorded conversations from Allami’s phone and in his Deakin Avenue home in 2014 by the Australian Federal Police.

Allami has claimed he was just “showing off” in the recordings, alleged to be with or about fellow smugglers, who talk about visas, boats, money and passengers.

In one recording made in June 2014, Allami said many passengers were in Indonesia waiting for a route to open.

Allami said he had the “route” to New Zealand and a boat ready, but they needed a “smooth talker” to collect passengers who were “scared”.

“I’ve got the route to New Zealand,” he said.

The jury previously heard Allami talking about the route to Australia potentially being opened again, after it had been “ruined” by Afghans and Iranians­­­ who were boarding “those boats like sheep”.

The court heard Allami told an associate they needed to find Abu Tarek, whose where­abouts­­ were not known, because even though he wasn’t good at actually­­­ transporting passengers, he was “the master” at collecting them.

“You need someone who knows how to talk to people and get money off people,” he said.

Allami said he and his associate, unlike Abu Tarek, had the “good, clean contacts” capable of moving the passengers.

The trial, before Judge Jeanette Morrish, continues.

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