Trial of Paren­garenga 3G trus­tee ends with guilty pleas

The Northland Age - - Local News -

A for­mer trus­tee of the Paren­garenga 3G Trust last week ad­mit­ted steal­ing more than $1 mil­lion from the trust.

Four days into a High Court trial at Auck­land that was sched­uled to run for three weeks, 61-year-old Stephen Henare pleaded guilty to five counts of theft by per­son in a spe­cial re­la­tion­ship and one of at­tempt­ing to per­vert the course of jus­tice, all of which he had pre­vi­ously de­nied.

The charges were brought by the Se­ri­ous Fraud Of­fice.

Henare was re­manded on bail to July 26 for sen­tenc­ing.

The de­fen­dant had been a trus­tee of the Paren­garenga 3G Trust, which man­aged a 512ha com­mer­cial for­est, with more than 400 own­ers, on Ma¯ori land on the Aupo¯uri Penin­sula. Ac­cord­ing to the pros­e­cu­tion, with the in­volve­ment of his sis­ter and fel­low trus­tee Mar­garet Dixon, 60, he fa­cil­i­tated the trans­fer of P3G Trust funds into var­i­ous other bank ac­counts, in­clud­ing per­sonal ac­counts and fam­ily trusts.

Henare, de­scribed as the in­sti­ga­tor of the of­fend­ing, had in­ten­tion­ally failed to deal with $1,083,897 of trust funds in ac­cor­dance with the P3G Trust Or­der. He lied to the Ma¯ori Land Court in 2013 about the fi­nan­cial po­si­tion of the P3G Trust.

Dixon, who pleaded guilty last year to de­fraud­ing the trust, was sen­tenced to 12 months’ home de­ten­tion and or­dered to pay $5000 in repa­ra­tion.

The SFO said Henare, Dixon and five other peo­ple were ap­pointed as trustees in June 2012, in place of the Ma¯ori Trus­tee. About $1.1 mil­lion was trans­ferred from the Ma¯ori Trus­tee to P3G Trust bank ac­counts in Au­gust of that year. The funds were in­tended pri­mar­ily for the man­age­ment of the land and the for­est for the ben­e­fit of the own­ers.

A fur­ther $54,480 was ob­tained by the trust from the sale of car­bon cred­its.

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