New Zealand Law Society - Education consultant gets home detention for $150,000 fraud

Education consultant gets home detention for $150,000 fraud

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A former employee of the tertiary education provider Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi has been sentenced to nine months’ home detention for receiving about $150,000 in kickbacks.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) says Katherine Tuhakaraina (60) has been sentenced in the Tauranga District Court on one representative charge of ‘Receiving secret reward for procuring contracts’ brought by the SFO.

Ms Tuhakaraina received the kickbacks from Koa Consultants who delivered an education course to the wānanga.

She had recommended her employer award the company the contract, making the recommendation knowing she would get a share of Koa Consultants’ profits if it got the work. Her employer was unaware of this agreement or that the defendant had any personal interest in the awarding of work to Koa Consultants.

“Corruption is a priority for the SFO. It disproportionately affects the most vulnerable in our society, and in this case undermined the good work of the wānanga and its dedicated employees,” says SFO’s Director, Julie Read.

“Ms Tuhakaraina deceived her employer to obtain funds provided to the education sector from the Crown. Her offending was criminal, corrupt and a gross breach of trust.”

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