Convicted on charge of bribery

By Imran Ali

A businessman has admitted bribing a senior ACC employee with $160,000 in return for constructing and leasing a particular building to the corporation in Whangarei.

Gregory Alexander Hutt, 54, of Wellington gave ACC property manager Malcolm David Mason $160,000 in July 2009 - part of proceeds from selling the building in central Whangarei for a profit.

Hutt was released on bail after pleading guilty in the High Court at Wellington on Friday to a charge of bribery.

He will be sentenced on June 15.

Mason was sentenced to 11 months' home detention in March last year after pleading guilty to three charges of bribery and corruption.

The Serious Fraud Office said Hutt, director of construction company Hi-Tech Commercial Interiors, paid Mason $160,000 to ensure he gained the opportunity to profit from the construction and leasing of a new ACC branch office in central Whangarei.

Before his offending, Hutt's company was involved in the fit-out of office interiors at other ACC premises.

In late 2006, ACC identified a need to replace some of its existing premises and Mason passed details of the corporation's intentions to Hutt.

The information allowed Hutt to purchase the site in Whangarei that Mason subsequently recommended to his superiors as being suitable for their new branch.

Mason's influence at ACC enabled him to develop the new building and once a long-term lease was secured, he sold the premises for a profit and paid Mason $160,000.

On July 26, 2010 - the day before Mason was first interviewed by the SFO, Mason transferred $9600, or 6 per cent of $160,000, into one of Hutt's bank accounts.

Mason was fired in 2010 when an investigation began into his accepting an illegal gift.

- Northern Advocate

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