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Court sentences two on fraud charges

Hemant Kumar Maharaj and Suresh Din were sentenced in the Auckland District Court on October 3 for corruptly obtaining public funds from the North Shore City Council.

Mr Din is self-employed and on occasion worked for the North Shore City Council.

Mr Maharaj and Mr Din had been friends for some considerable time, meeting when both were living in Fiji before immigrating to New Zealand.

Mr Maharaj received two years, 10 months’ imprisonment and Mr Din received 10 months on home detention and 350 hours of community service following a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) prosecution.

SFO filed charges against them in September 2010 and the pair were found guilty at a trial in June.

Their offending occurred over a period of approximately 10 years while Mr Maharaj was working for the North Shore City Council. They formed an agreement to invoice the Council for road and berm maintenance work.

However this work was never completed. They used 151 invoices in their scheme, with Mr Din submitting the invoices under the name of S Din Family Trust.

After the invoices were submitted by Mr Din, Mr Maharaj would sign off the work as being completed and forward the invoice for payment.

Acting SFO Chief Executive Simon McArley said that SFO is committed to minimising the impact of corruption on our economy through investigation and prosecution of issues in both the public and private sectors.

“New Zealand has an enviable international reputation for low levels of corruption. This is invaluable to our economic interests and SFO prioritises cases such as this one so that we deter offending that may undermine that reputation,” he said.

Mr Maharaj is a qualified civil engineer and was employed by the North Shore City Council since 1990 (subsequently dismissed).

Serious Fraud Office Release

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