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TEC seeks $1.47m refund from Intueri

NZN 23/06/2016 Jonathan Underhill

Intueri Education Group must repay $1.47 million plus tax to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) after an investigation into its dive school showed some student enrolments between 2009-2014 could not be validated and some courses under-delivered against their funding agreement.

The refund exceeds the $1.12 million that Intueri provided for in its 2014 accounts and the balance would be recognised in the company's first-half results for 2016, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. Intueri said it "is actively seeking recourse from the dive school vendors".

New Zealand's largest private training institution, which listed in May 2014, has had a troubled life since deciding to go public. It was forced to amend its prospectus after the death of a foreign diving student at its NZ School of Outdoor Studies (which trades as NZ School of Commercial Diver Training) in April of that year. In March this year it was ordered to pay about $150,000 in reparations to the student's family after pleading guilty to one charge under the Health and Safety in Employment Act in addition to a $54,000 fine.

The TEC also has a separate investigation underway into Intueri's main domestic unit, Quantum Education Group, where concerns had been raised about the performance and reporting of high student completion rates that didn't match the real number of student enrolments. The Serious Fraud Office is also looking into Quantum.

The shares last traded at 35 cents and have shed 85 per cent of their value compared to their 2014 IPO price of $2.35

Chief executive Rob Facer said on Thursday that the TEC report, carried out by Deloitte, found no issues of concern in 2015 when the dive school was under Intueri's management "but did find some legacy issues related to the period 2010 to 2014 when the school was under the management of the former owners."

"We're pleased to have resolved this matter with the TEC," Facer said. "Our focus continues to be on the delivery of quality commercial diving programmes which provide students with internationally recognised diving accreditations and qualifications."

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