New Zealand Labour Party

Fraudster hired despite previous conviction

It’s a matter of concern that fraudster Joanne Harrison was hired by the Ministry of Transport despite a previous conviction, says Labour Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.

“At today’s sentencing of the former Ministry’s senior manager the Judge, Sanjay Patel, made it clear that Harrison had been charged with fraud related matters in 2007. She was hired by the Ministry of Transport in 2011.

“I question how the Ministry of Transport employed her and then promoted her to a senior manager’s role with a high financial threshold delegation, without discovering any of these concerns about her.

“The Minister Simon Bridges knew about this in April of last year but he didn’t inform the Prime Minister until 20 July just before I raised the case after being approached by a whistle-blower. I passed this information on to the Serious Fraud Office.

“It also emerged in the summing up that Harrison had started offending in the year before she was made a senior manager and given wide financial delegations.

“It’s satisfying to see that Joanne Harrison had to return to New Zealand to face the charges.

“However the Judge also noted that the full sum of money that has been lost, may never be recovered.

“New Zealand’s taxpayers need to be assured that the same mistakes won’t be made again,” says Sue Moroney.