Kopu in police office probe


ROTORUA - Police are investigating the disappearance from Parliament of office furnishings allocated to one-term MP Alamein Kopu.

A complaint was made to Wellington police about three weeks ago by Members' Services, a division of Parliamentary Services, relating to a list of furnishings missing from Mrs Kopu's former office on the third floor of the Beehive.

The list includes a desk, chair, filing cabinet, computer and printer, lounge suite and a rubbish bin.

Mrs Kopu, a Rotorua great-grandmother, was on the dole before entering Parliament on the Alliance list after the 1996 election.

Her vote helped to prop up the minority National Government after she quit the Alliance to become an Independent MP and then when she became leader of her own party, Mana Wahine Te Ira Tangata, last May.

Mrs Kopu lost her seat in the election in November and moved out of her Beehive office in early December.

Inspector Tom Stenhouse said two officers were yesterday interviewing people about the matter.

Mr Stenhouse said the police file would then be sent to Rotorua for further interviews with several people, including Mrs Kopu's former staff.

Police had not yet spoken to Mrs Kopu.

"We're not saying the property is stolen - just that it is unaccounted for at the moment," Mr Stenhouse said.

The general manager of Parliamentary Services, John O'Sullivan, said the organisation owned the furnishings in Beehive offices, apart from personal additions.

The Herald understands that after being contacted by Members' Services, Mrs Kopu negotiated to buy the computer and printer at cost, because the computer contained personal documents.

Mr O'Sullivan confirmed that Mrs Kopu had bought "computer equipment" from Parliamentary Services at a price, which he did not know, set by an independent valuer.

Alliance MP John Wright, who now occupies the office Mrs Kopu vacated, said it was fully furnished when he moved in in mid-December.

Attempts to contact Mrs Kopu yesterday were unsuccessful.

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