Education Consultant Admits Receiving $150,000 In Kickbacks
A former employee of the tertiary education provider Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi has admitted receiving secret commissions midway through her trial.
Katherine Tuhakaraina (60) pleaded guilty today in the Tauranga District Court to one representative charge of ‘Receiving secret reward for procuring contracts’ brought by the Serious Fraud Office.
The defendant received approximately $150,000 in 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 cases such as this, undermines 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 corrupt and a gross breach of trust.”
Ms Tuhakaraina was remanded on bail to reappear in the Tauranga District Court for sentencing on 5 May.