John Davy sent to prison for eight months

By Louisa Cleave

3.30pm - By LOUISA CLEAVE and NZPA

John Davy, the man hired as chief executive of the Maori Television Service (MTS) and fired six weeks later for fraud, was jailed for eight months today.

Davy appeared in Auckland District Court for sentencing after admitting he lied about his qualifications on the resume he supplied with his application to work for MTS.

Davy appeared shocked as the sentence was handed down in the Auckland District Court.

Judge Phil Moran referred to Davy as a "conman" who indulged in a web of deceit woven to obtain a job he was not qualified to do.

"Your reputation is in tatters", he said.

Judge Moran said Davy had caused significant damage to the fledgling Maori Television Service (MTS) which must now go through a process of appointing a new chief executive.

He said the enormity of Davy's deceit showed there was a clear need to send a message to other people who might be tempted to apply for senior appointments.

Judge Moran took into consideration that Davy had during his six weeks with the MTS done a good job and that he had committed the proceeds from the sale of his Jaguar car to Te Puni Kokiri as well as forgone unpaid salary and benefits.

He said this should all go a long way to repaying the $20,000 salary advance he received.

The entire cost to Te Puni Kokiri of employing John Davy - including the salary advance and airfares - was $82,000.

Davy pleaded guilty on May 17 to one charge of using a document, his CV, to obtain a benefit or privilege "namely a senior appointment with the Maori Television Service".

The MTS board sacked Davy for "serious misconduct" on April 29, less than seven weeks after announcing his appointment.

A Herald inquiry into his background raised questions about his role as a member and adviser to the BC Securities Commission in Canada, his Master of Business Administration degree, and two books he is said to have written.

In a biographical sheet provided to the media, Mr Davy's "non-conflict directorships" - a term which implied they were not only real but current - included his being a "member and adviser to the BC Securities Commission".

A statement from the board said Mr Davy had provided details of "some highly confidential work he carried out for the British Columbia Securities Commission in 1986".

But a BC Securities Commission spokesman said he could not find a reference to a John Davy in the past 15 years, or in records back to the late 70s.

Another of Mr Davy's non-conflict directorships is said to be as a member and adviser of the Middle East Round Table for International Relations.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade staff familiar with the Middle East said they had not heard of the organisation.

Mr Davy last month gave the board a copy of his MBA "from the Ashland School of Business at Denver State University".

Herald inquiries found Denver State University did not exist. The university name and the school on Mr Davy's degree certificate were, however, used on counterfeit credentials sold over the internet.

Mr Davy was appointed by the board on March 14, chosen from a shortlist of six, including three Maori applicants.

At the time of Davy's appointment, MTS chairman Derek Fox said the Canadian was by far the best applicant.

He said the chief executive was selected for his strong financial and management skills.

"I can understand that people will be apprehensive but I am confident the guy will deliver."

The decision did, however, raise some eyebrows in Maoridom. Mr Davy does not speak Maori and had no experience running a television station.

Mr Davy had been living in Auckland since last June, according to a curriculum vitae issued by the MTS.

He was chief executive and chief financial officer of Intercom 3000, a company which was placed in liquidation earlier this month owing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Maori Television Service board hired Wellington recruitment agency Millennium People to find its chief executive.

The television service is accountable to the Government and the Maori Electoral College.

Its seven-member board is a mixture of private and public interests. Three are appointed by the Crown and four by the electoral college of Maori organisations and language groups.

Full coverage: Maori TV

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