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Ministry manager arrested over fraud

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 8/08/2016

A former senior Ministry of Transport manager has been arrested after allegedly defrauding the government department of $726,000.

Joanne Harrison, 50, appeared in the Manukau District Court on Friday facing three charges of dishonestly taking or using a document, after being arrested while re-entering the country earlier in the day.

Harrison was a general manager at the Ministry from 2011 until being stood down following a complaint over suspicious payments earlier in the year, the Serious Fraud Office said.

The SFO alleges the Ministry paid $726,000 to entities associated with Harrison.

She did not enter a plea and will appear in court again later in the month.

Harrison was thought to have left the country after departing the Ministry and was on Friday arrested at Auckland International Airport.

The ministry's chief executive, Peter Mersi, last month said there had been several reviews of controls and recruiting procedures since the allegations came to light.

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