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Education Consultant Gets Home Detention For $150,000 Fraud

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.

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

The defendant received the kickbacks from Koa Consultants who delivered an education course to the wānanga.

Ms Tuhakaraina had recommended her employer award the company the contract. The defendant made 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.

The Director of the SFO, Julie Read, said, “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. 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.”

Issued by:

Henry Acland
Serious Fraud Office
027 705 4550

Background information

Katherine Tuhakaraina (60) of Rotorua is an education consultant who was employed as the programme co-ordinator for Hei Manaaki at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi (Awanuiārangi) from 2009 to 2014.

Ms Tuhakaraina’s role included recommending contractors to Awanuiarangi, a tertiary education provider based in Whakatane.

Secret Commissions Act offences

Section 8 Receiving secret reward for procuring contracts an offence

(1) Every person is guilty of an offence who advises any person to enter into a contract with a third person and receives or agrees to receive from that third person, without the knowledge and consent of the person so advised, any gift or consideration as an inducement or reward for the giving of that advice or the procuring of that contract, unless the person giving that advice himself acts as the agent of the third person in entering into the contract, or is to the knowledge of the person so advised the agent of that third person.

(2) For the purposes of this section a person shall be deemed to advise another person to enter into a contract if he makes to that other person any statement or suggestion with intent to induce him to enter into the contract.

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