A former employee of a Bay of Plenty tertiary education provider has been sentenced to nine months' home detention for receiving about $150,000 in kickbacks.

Katherine Tuhakaraina, 60, was sentenced in the Tauranga District Court yesterday on one representative charge of receiving a secret reward for procuring contracts.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) prosecuted the matter.

In a written statement, Julie Read, the Serious Fraud Office's director, said Tuhakaraina received the almost $150,000 in kickbacks from Koa Consultants who delivered an education course to Whakatane-based Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi.


Read said Tuhakaraina recommended her employer award the company the contract knowing she would get a share of Koa Consultants' profits if it got the work.

Her employer was unaware of this agreement or that the defendant had any personal interest in the awarding of work to Koa Consultants, she said.

"Corruption is a priority for the SFO. It disproportionately affects the most vulnerable in our society, and in this case, undermined the good work of the wānanga and its dedicated employees.

"Ms Tuhakaraina deceived her employer to obtain funds provided to the education sector from the Crown. Her offending was criminal, corrupt and a gross breach of trust."

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