Natalie Akoorie is a reporter at the NZ Herald based in Hamilton.

Prison guard jailed for drug smuggling

Photo / File photo
Photo / File photo

A former prison guard has been jailed for two years for smuggling drugs into a Waikato facility, despite an emotional plea from his sister for home detention.

Perive Mila Faafitu Matuaitofiga, 25, was sentenced in the Hamilton District Court today to two years and one month in jail after he was convicted on seven corruption charges.

Matuaitofiga was caught on August 17 last year, just eight months after he started working at the prison, and it was discovered he had smuggled in contraband seven times to an inmate at a payment of $500 each time.

On that day in August he was found with 41 grams of cannabis, 70 grams of tobacco and eight pills containing the Class C drug 4-Mec.

His sister Valaauina Seu told the court Matuaitofiga had been a model son and brother but his actions brought shame on the family, particularly her father who felt the Samoan community now shunned the family.

"He was supposed to be professional at his job but instead he was an easy target because he's soft."

But Judge Philip Connell said the public had a right to expect members of authority would carry out their duties lawfully.

"The prison service itself, its prison officers, the courts, the police and most important of all the general public need to be reassured that corruption is not tolerated within this country's prisons.

"Offending like this erodes the confidence of the public in the Corrections Department and their ability to keep communities safe."

Judge Connell said Matuaitofiga used his authority as a prison officer to benefit financially because he was in debt, and that did not qualify him for home detention.

- NZ Herald

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