A former Ministry of Transport boss who allegedly stole more than $700,000 through false contracts has been denied bail.

Joanne Harrison appeared in Manukau District Court today via audio video link seeking bail after allegedly paying entities she was associated with around $726,000 during her time at the Ministry of Transport.

Judge Kim Saunders declined to grant Harrison electronically monitored bail, but placed an interim suppression order on the reason why.

Harrison was arrested at Auckland Airport earlier this month after voluntarily returning to New Zealand to face charges laid by the Serious Fraud Office.

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Harrison entered no plea at the August 5 appearance.