Corruption Charges Filed Against Former CERA Employees
Two men who worked for the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) and Ōtākaro Ltd have pleaded not guilty to corruption charges brought by the Serious Fraud Office.
Gerard Anthony Gallagher (62) and Simon Carl Nikoloff (57) had sought name suppression, but the Christchurch High Court declined their applications. The defendants have pleaded not guilty to charges of ‘Corrupt use of official information’ under the Crimes Act.
The charges against the defendants are in relation to their conduct as employees of CERA and its successor company, Ōtākaro Ltd.
Mr Gallagher and Mr Nikoloff have been remanded on bail. They are due to next appear in the Christchurch High Court on 23 October. Their trial is scheduled to commence on 16 August 2021.
Background to investigation
Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) was established in March 2011 under the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011 and operated until April 2016. CERA coordinated the rebuild of Christchurch and the surrounding areas following the 22 February 2011 earthquake. Following the disestablishment of CERA, Ōtākaro Ltd commenced as CERA’s successor.
Crimes Act offences
105A Corrupt use of official information
Every official is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who, whether within New Zealand or elsewhere, corruptly uses or discloses any information, acquired by him or her in his or her official capacity, to obtain, directly or indirectly, an advantage or a pecuniary gain for himself or herself or any other person.