A former employee of the Waitangi National Trust, which looks after the Waitangi Treaty Grounds has been charged by the Serious Fraud Office after around $1.2 million went missing from the group.
Wallace Tamamotu Te Ahuru, 30, of Kerikeri faces two charges of obtaining by deception and seven charges of using forged documents.
He was not required to enter a plea to the charges during his appearance at the Manukau District Court on yesterday. The Serious Fraud Office said Te Ahuru is alleged to have defrauded the Waitangi National Trust Group of about $1.2 million while he was employed as its corporate services manager.
In this role he was responsible for the financial administration of the trust. SFO said Te Ahuru is believed to have acted alone in the alleged offending.
Te Ahuru, who returned from Australia recently, has been remanded on bail to reappear at the Manukau District Court on September 4.
The trust became aware of irregularities in 2016, and passed the matter to the SFO in January this year. The irregularities related to transactions over a 12-month period beginning in 2016, and had been picked up by staff analyses of accounts.
According to the financial statements filed to the Charities Register, in the year to June 2016 the Waitangi National Trust earned revenue of $11.5m, including $5.6m in government grants, and had $28.5m in assets, mainly land and buildings.