Home detention in ACC bribery case

Adam Feeley, chief executive of the Serious Fraud Office. Photo / Dean Purcell
Adam Feeley, chief executive of the Serious Fraud Office. Photo / Dean Purcell

A construction company director has been sentenced to 11 months home detention after pleading guilty to making a $160,000 bribe to a property manager at the Accident Compensation Corp.

Gregory Hutt was a director of Hi-Tech Commercial Interiors when he made the "corrupt payment" in 2009 to former ACC national property manager Malcolm Mason, whose role had included procurement, tendering and lease negotiations for the corporation.

It was a share of Hutt's profit on a property development he did after being tipped off by Mason that the ACC was looking for new premises in Whangarei. Mason was sentenced in March last year.

According to the Serious Fraud Office statement on the sentencing, the two men had contrived to make the payment look like a loan after media reports in 2010 about the involvement of the SFO in the case. They had developed a personal friendship in the course of Hutt's company doing fit-outs of office interiors at ACC premises.

The prosecution "reinforces the commitment that law enforcement agencies in New Zealand have to taking a zero-tolerance approach to any case involving bribery of public officials," SFO chief executive Adam Feeley said.

As well as home detention, Hutt forfeited his $205,659 profit on the property deal and paid $101,294 in tax. He was sentenced today in the Wellington High Court.

- BusinessDesk

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