Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


SFO lays charges in North Shore City Council corruption case

For immediate release

Media Release:

22 November 2010

SFO lays charges in North Shore City Council corruption case

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) announced today that it had laid over 300 charges against Hemant Kumar Maharaj, 57, and Suresh Din, 56, both of Auckland.

The SFO allege that Mr Maharaj, who worked for the North Shore City Council, and Mr Din, used 151 invoices in a dishonest scheme to obtain over $840,000 from the Council.

SFO Chief Executive, Adam Feeley, said “This a very significant amount alleged to have been defrauded from the Council, and underlines the need for local government to have very robust audit processes to either prevent, or enable early detection of, fraud.”

Mr Feeley said investigating and prosecuting corrupt officials within the public sector who have abused their position of trust over public funds was an area of fraud investigation that the SFO had identified as priority for the Office in its current business plan.

“While New Zealand enjoys an outstanding international reputation for being relatively corruption free, that reputation can only be maintained by good fraud prevention and a swift response to any allegations which could undermine confidence in the integrity of our public sector.”

Mr Maharaj and Mr Din are jointly charged with 73 counts of using a document with intent to defraud and 78 counts of dishonestly using a document over a period of approximately 10 years.

Mr Maharaj has also been charged with two counts of attempting to pervert the course of justice in relation to the alleged alteration and provision of a diary and the alleged creation of a receipt book.

Mr Din has also been charged with one count of using a document with intent to defraud and six counts of dishonestly using a document in relation to the alleged dishonest use of income tax returns that claimed expenditure he had not incurred.

Both men were remanded on bail, without plea, to reappear on 13 December 2010.


Notes for Editors

1. The role of SFO

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) was established in 1990 under the Serious Fraud Act in response to the collapse of financial markets in New Zealand at that time.

The SFO operates three investigative teams:

Fraud Detection & Intelligence;
Financial Markets & Corporate Fraud; and
Fraud & Corruption.

The SFO operates under two sets of investigative powers.

Part 1 of the SFO Act provides that it may act where the Director “has reason to suspect that an investigation into the affairs of any person may disclose serious or complex fraud.”

Part 2 of the SFO Act provides the SFO with more extensive powers where: “..the Director has reasonable grounds to believe that an offence involving serious or complex fraud may have been committed…”

The SFO’s Statement of Intent 2010-2012 sets out the SFO’s three year strategic goals and performance standards. It is available online at: www.sfo.govt.nz

2. Corruption

Corruption is typically defined as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.”

New Zealand is a signatory to the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) which came into force in December 2005.

UNCAC requires member states to develop effective measures against corruption at both the domestic and international levels, including prevention; criminal sanctions and recovery of criminal assets.

It is complemented by the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention which requires member states to criminalise bribery of public officials.

The SFO has a Letter of Agreement with the NZ Police under which the SFO is the lead referral agency for matters involving bribery and corruption. Under the terms of the Agreement the two agencies jointly review matters referred to SFO to determine the most appropriate agency to investigation allegations of bribery and corruption.

3. Crimes Act 1961 offences:

Section 228 - Dishonestly taking or using document
Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who, with intent to obtain any property, service, pecuniary advantage, or valuable consideration,—
(a) dishonestly and without claim of right, takes or obtains any document; or
(b) dishonestly and without claim of right, uses or attempts to use any document.

Section 116 - Conspiring to defeat justice
Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who conspires to obstruct, prevent, pervert, or defeat the course of justice in New Zealand or the course of justice in an overseas jurisdiction.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Yesterday’s Big Parliamentary Air Kiss To China

In order to obtain support from the two major parties, Act Party deputy leader Brooke Van Velden twice had to soften the language of her parliamentary motion yesterday condemning China’s persecution of the Uighurs. The key word “genocide” was deleted. Evidently, the kind of resolution passed by a conservative government in the UK proved to be far too tough for a centre-left Labour government and a centre-right National opposition to countenance. Yesterday, the two major parties were united in their fear of retribution from China... More>>


Public Services: Government Sets Pay And Workforce Expectations For The Public Sector

The Government’s Workforce Policy Statement issued today sets out its expectations for pay and employment relations in the Public Sector, the Minister of Finance and Minister for the Public Service say. “New Zealand has had an exceptionally successful ... More>>


Government: Budget 2021 Reprioritises Nearly $1 Billion

Hon Grant Robertson Deputy Prime Minister Minister of Finance The Government’s strong pandemic response and the better than expected economic recovery means not all the money allocated in the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund has been spent, ... More>>


Ardern: Speech To China Business Summit

Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, ate marie, tena koutou katoa, good morning. I am very happy to be here with you once again at my fourth China Business Summit. ... More>>

PM: Statement On The Speaker And Annual Review Debate

“The serious issue of alleged sexual assault and harassment at Parliament was poorly managed and inappropriately politicised last night. The tone of the debate did not reflect well on Parliament as a whole,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. ... More>>

Parliament: Mallard Fails To Give Taxpayers A Straight Answer

Trevor Mallard has confirmed he is unfit to be Parliament’s Speaker by failing to answer several important questions relating to the false rape accusation saga that cost taxpayers more than $330,000, Shadow Leader of the House Chris Bishop says. ... More>>

Local Government: Independent Review To Explore Future

Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta says an independent review of local government will explore how councils can maintain and improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders in the communities they serve long into the future. More>>


PM Ardern And PM Morrison: Commencement Of Two-Way Quarantine-Free Travel Between Australia And New Zealand

Joint Statement by Prime Ministers Scott Morrison and Jacinda Ardern Commencement of two-way quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand Today, Australia and New Zealand have fulfilled their commitment to establish two-way quarantine free ... More>>




InfoPages News Channels