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Te Pataka Ohanga referred to Serious Fraud Office

Te Pataka Ohanga referred to Serious Fraud Office

Education Ministers Hekia Parata and Dr Pita Sharples have referred matters relating to Te Pataka Ohanga, a private company owned by the Te Kohanga Reo National Trust Board, to the Serious Fraud Office.

Ms Parata and Dr Sharples commissioned Ernst and Young to review the public funding provided to the Trust and establish that there were proper financial controls around the funding for 460 kōhanga centres and the 9,000 children enrolled in them.

The Ernst and Young report released last night found the Trust’s financial controls are effective for an operation of its size and complexity but some improvements are needed around credit card returns and koha payments.

It also found that the Trust was legitimately buying services for Kōhanga Reo from Te Pātaka Ohanga and there was no misuse of public monies in this regard.

However, there are still concerns about Te Pataka Ohanga, including new allegations brought to the attention of Ministers. Despite assurances given by the Trust Board that it would respond to all concerns, it has not done so.

“The Board has had many opportunities to restore public confidence in its governance and management of Te Pātaka Ohanga, and it has failed to do so,” says Ms Parata.

“As we have no powers to investigate Te Pātaka Ohanga, because it is a subsidiary organisation owned entirely by the Trust, we have referred the matter to the Serious Fraud Office.”

"While we don’t have the jurisdiction to look at Te Pataka Ohanga we have the best interests of the kaupapa at heart. It’s important that we assure the wider public and the whanau of Kohanga Reo that the kaupapa will remain," says Dr Sharples.

Now that the matter has been referred to the Serious Fraud Office it will not be appropriate to comment further.

Ends

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