Two men face corruption charges

Two men of Indian origin are currently facing more than 300 charges of dishonesty and fraud.

Hemant Kumar Maharaj (57) and Suresh Din (56) were remanded on bail at the Auckland District Court on November 22, 2010.

They will reappear on December 13.

The Serious Fraud Office, which brought the charges against the two men, said that Mr Maharaj, who worked for the North Shore City Council used 151 invoices to fraudulently obtain more than $840,000 from the Council, in collaboration with Mr Din.

SFO Chief Executive Adam Feeley both men were jointly charged with 73 counts of using a document with intent to defraud and 78 counts of dishonestly using a document over a period of approximately 10 years.

Mr Maharaj faces two other charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice in relation to the alleged alteration and provision of a diary and the alleged creation of a receipt book.

Mr Din faces one count of using a document with intent to defraud and six counts of dishonestly using a document in relation to the alleged dishonest use of income tax returns that claimed expenditure he had not incurred.
“This a very significant amount alleged to have been defrauded from the Council, and underlines the need for local government to have very robust audit processes to either prevent, or enable early detection of, fraud,” Mr Feeley said.

He said investigating and prosecuting corrupt officials within the public sector who have abused their position of trust over public funds was an area of fraud investigation that his office had identified as priority in its current business plan.

“While New Zealand enjoys an outstanding international reputation for being relatively corruption free, that reputation can only be maintained by good fraud prevention and a swift response to any allegations which could undermine confidence in the integrity of our public sector,” he said.

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