Ex-Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi employee admits being paid almost $150,000 in secret commissions

Source: 1News

A former employee of tertiary education provider Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi has admitted receiving approximately $150,000 in secret commissions in the Tauranga District Court today.

Katherine Tuhakaraina, 60, pleaded guilty to one representative charge of receiving secret reward for procuring contracts brought by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

Koa Consultants paid Ms Tuhakaraina approximately $150,000 to delivered an education course to the wānanga, the SFO said in a statement.

The SFO said Ms Tuhakaraina had recommended her employer award the company the contract, 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.

 “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,” SFO director Julie Read said.

“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.”

The 60-year-old was remanded on bail to reappear in the Tauranga District Court for sentencing on May 5.