March 19, 2014
Fraud inquiry into Kohanga subsidiary
Education Minister Hekia Parata and Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples have asked the Serious Fraud Office to investigate spending at the Kohanga Reo National Trust’s commercial subsidiary Te Pataka Ohanga.
The referral came just hours after the ministers faced questions on why an independent review which found no misuse of public money by the trust had failed to investigate allegations about the company.
A Maori Television expose last October used leak credit card records to highlight spending by Te Pataka Ohanga chief executive Lynda Tawhiwhirangi and her mother in law, trustee Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi.
Yesterday the ministers told the trust they remain concerned about its internal management and governance processes.
They were also concerned about its failure to respond quickly to the allegations of inappropriate spending.
They say the referral to the SFO was prompted by a letter from one of the trustees raising further concerns about Te Pataka Ohanga and its relationship with the National Trust.
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