The identity of an ex-government employee who swindled $55k of taxpayers’ money in an act of revenge can now be revealed.
Paul Ivan De Wijze, formerly employed by the Parliamentary Counsel Offices (PCO), used a fraudulent invoice to direct $55,200 into his bank account months after he was laid off from his role as Chief Information Officer last year.
De Wijze can now be named after his bid for permanent name suppression was withdrawn in the Wellington District Court this week, with suppression lapsing overnight.
At the end of last year, the PCO received an invoice from De WIjze for an existing cloud-based IT subscription the office had used for a year.
When the bill was paid the following month, the previously paid invoice listed a different bank account and GST number.
On further investigation, it was confirmed the invoice was a fraud, and the sum of $55,200 had been paid into the account of De Wijze.
He was sentenced to community work and supervision last month, however name suppression continued until the courts were prepared to discuss if his identity should be suppressed indefinitely.
Prosecutor Morgan Speight said at the sentencing De Wijze had ripped off the whole country with his actions, and described his crime as a “breach of trust in the absolute extreme”.
“This is not simply a case of one person taking advantage of their employer but one person taking advantage of the country as a whole,” Speight told the court.
The 53-year-old said he never took the money as a means of financial gain, but as an act of revenge for alleged poor treatment while working at PCO.
Any alleged poor treatment was not discussed or outlined to the courts at the time of his sentencing.
De Wijze’s lawyer Val Nisbet said his client had been going through a difficult time and his actions were “completely out of character”.
Nisbet said De Wijze’s regret and remorse was profound. He has since paid every penny back.
De Wijze was employed by PCO as CIO, one role below the top job, from 2008 up until he was made redundant in July last year.
The PCO said it could not offer extensive comment on the lapse of De Wijze’s name suppression, or the case itself, but issued a small statement to Open Justice.
“I am pleased that justice has been done and the stolen funds have been recovered in full for the New Zealand taxpayer,” Chief Parliamentary Counsel Cassie Nicholson told Open Justice.