You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Fraudster Harrison worked for Corrections

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 29/05/2017
A court hearing © Getty Images A court hearing

Corrections says convicted fraudster Joanne Harrison worked for the department before she stole $720,000 as a Ministry of Transport manager and an investigation is ongoing.

Harrison last year admitted to fraudulently taking money from ministry accounts she controlled while working as a general manager between 2011 and 2016 and was sentenced to more than three years' jail.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Department of Corrections said an investigation had found Harrison had also been employed in recruitment by the department in December 2008 on a temporary four-month contract.

"A full internal audit of Joanne Harrison's work during her time with Corrections was immediately undertaken and is continuing. "Once the audit is completed, the department will act on any recommendations or findings."

The Department of Conservation also sought legal advice after discovering Harrison had been carrying out an independent investigation into an "employment matter" for the department in August last year, during the fraud period.

A spokeswoman last week said Harrison never finished the report and had not had a lead role in the inquiry. Auditor-General Martin Matthews was stood down last week over his handling of Harrison's case.

He was the head of the Ministry of Transport when Harrison defrauded it. Political party leaders had expressed concern about why it took so long for her fraud to be detected, and why three whistleblowers were apparently ignored.

The whistleblowers believe they were made redundant because they tried to bring it out into the open and the State Services Commission confirmed last week it would investigate their treatment.

The Ministry of Transport has also launched a fresh investigation over the allegations, with Radio NZ reporting Harrison also kept a friend on the payroll for 10 months despite them not turning up or doing any work.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon