Hamish Rutherford at Stuff reports:
Sir Ngatata Love has been found guilty of obtaining property by deception following a fraud trial.
Justice Graham Lang read the decision in the High Court in Wellington on Thursday.
Love was charged following a serious fraud office investigation in 2013, with the trial beginning on August 3.
The charges related to a payment made by property developer Redwood to a company controlled by Love’s partner, Lorraine Skiffington.
Love faced alternative charges of obtaining property by deception, or of accepting a secret commission. The charge of obtaining property by deception is the more serious of the two charges.
Love was accused of showing favour to Redwood by granting it a lease to develop land 1-15 Pipitea St, in return for the developer awarding Skiffington’s company a lucrative consultancy contract.
The money was allegedly used to pay down the mortgage on a beachfront home on Moana Rd in Plimmerton.
Lang said that in updating his fellow trustees on progress of a major property development, Love failed to inform them of a key aspect, the payments to Skiffington. While Love’s lawyer, Colin Carruthers QC, claimed Love was unaware of the nature of the transactions around him.
Love created an environment in which the developers believed he was acting on behalf of, and in the knowledge of, the wider Tenths Trust.
However Lang said he was satisfied Love was aware of the dealings and had made a false statement to his trustees by “recording in a deficient nature” Redwood’s offer.
Kudos to Fairfax for the reporting of not only the trial, but also breaking the story of the secret payments in 2013.
Love effectively stole money from his Iwi. Rather than get the best price possible for land the Iwi owned, he did deals with companies in exchange for huge facilitation fees to his partner.
He kept these arrangements hidden from his Iwi.
Love has had a distinguished record of service over the years. But at some point he got greedy and ripped off the very people he was meant to represent and serve.