Auckland Council employee reported to police over alleged credit card and expenses fraud

A staff member at Auckland Council has been reported to the police for fraud after allegedly misusing a credit card and fiddling expenses to the value of $8000.

General manager risk and assurance Mark Maloney said the alleged offending took place over a 10-month period to March this year. The person had paid back the money and no longer works for the council, he said.

He did not give details of the person and where they worked at the council.

The matter came to light in an audit of the council’s 2021 financial year by the Auditor-General who said there was a delay in the issue being identified because of the actions of the staff member.

“Processes have been reviewed to ensure that in future any inappropriate use of credit cards can be escalated in a timely manner,” said the audit, signed off by deputy Auditor-General Greg Schollum.

The audit said the alleged fraud was picked up by the council’s audit and risk department in a review and internal monitoring controls and management had taken the appropriate action in reporting the matter to the police.

Maloney said the police will decide whether they wish to investigate further or prosecute, which is standard practice.

“All reports or instances of fraud or misconduct are taken seriously. In this case, a thorough investigation was carried out and we are satisfied it was an isolated incident.”

The Herald is seeking comment from the police.

In May last year, former council employee, Sundeep Dilip Rasila, was sentenced to five and a half months home detention for accepting a bribe to guarantee a $140,000 business deal.

And in 2017, two men were jailed for their role in the country’s largest bribery case and Auckland Transport revealed six other staff left their jobs after investigations began into the scandal.

Former Auckland Transport senior manager Murray Noone and Projenz managing director Stephen Borlase were sentenced at the High Court at Auckland to five years and five years six months respectively after being found guilty of bribery and corruption.

The pair had been found to have engaged in a seven-year corrupt relationship where Projenz would make regular payments to Noone, overall amounting to more than $1m, while the latter was employed at council-owned organisations overseeing contracts awarded to Borlase’s firm.

Barrie George, Noone’s deputy throughout the corrupt relationship, had earlier pleaded guilty to accepting bribes from Borlase – mostly in the form of 20 international holidays – and was sentenced to 10 months’ home detention.

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