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Waitangi National Trust fraudster jailed

A former manager of the Waitangi National Trust, which is responsible for the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, has been jailed for three years and eight months on charges brought by the Serious Fraud Office.

Wallace Tamamotu Te Ahuru misappropriated about $1.2 million from the Waitangi National Trust Group while he was employed as its corporate services manager. He was responsible for the financial administration of the trust in that role. Mr Te Ahuru is believed to have acted alone in the offending.

The 31-year-old man used the money he stole for a variety of purposes, including travel and accommodation, luxury clothing, cosmetic surgery and the purchase of a vehicle.

Mr Te Ahuru was sentenced to imprisonment on two charges of ‘Obtaining by deception’ and seven charges of ‘Using forged documents’ at the Papakura District Court.

The Director of the Serious Fraud Office Julie Read said, “The sentence imposed today reflects the seriousness of the offending, which cost the Waitangi National Trust more than one million dollars in cash reserves. Mr Te Ahuru’s offending had a significant impact on his former colleagues, many of whom had treated him like a family member. His selfish actions have caused them stress and shame, and they must now work to rebuild the finances and reputation of the trust. This case is a timely reminder to all organisations about the importance of having robust internal controls.”


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