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Sir Ngatata Love sentenced to jail

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Sir Ralph Heberley Ngatata Love faces a period of two years, six months’ imprisonment after receiving his sentence in the Wellington High Court on October 7, 2016 for Crimes Act offending.

Sir Ngatata was found guilty last month of one charge of ‘Obtaining by deception’ following a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) prosecution and a three-week trial.

The prosecution related to a significant commercial property development project which was undertaken in Wellington.

The project involved land owned by the Wellington Tenths Trust of which Sir Ngatata Love was the Chair.

Concealed payments

Sir Ngatata Love arranged for himself and his partner, Lorraine Skiffington, to obtain control, for their own benefit, of a premium the prospective developers were prepared to pay to secure a leasehold interest in the property.

This was done without disclosure to, and in secret from, the remaining Trustees of the Wellington Tenths Trust.

As a result of an agreement reached with the prospective developers, payments totaling $1,687,500 were made to a company associated with Ms Skiffington.

These payments were concealed from the Wellington Tenths Trust.

Abuse of trust

SFO Chief Executive Julie Read said, “Sir Ngatata Love’s influence was once immense. The sentence imposed today reflects a gross abuse of trust. By Sir Ngatata Love’s actions, he deceived his fellow trustees and gained personally at the expense of the Wellington Tenths beneficiaries, whose interests he was supposed to protect. It is a sad day for his iwi and for those who placed their confidence in him as a respected Maori leader and a champion of Maori development. It also serves as a reminder that the law applies to everyone. The SFO will continue to pursue those who abuse their positions of trust for personal gain, regardless of their status in the community.”

It has been indicated that Sir Ngatata Love intends to appeal.

-Serious Fraud Office Press Release

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