29 Oct 2003

Cooks Audit Office still pursuing missing Housing Corporation millions

4:35 pm on 29 October 2003

The Cook Islands Audit office say it's pursuing its case against the failed Housing Corporation in which one and a half million U.S. dollars went missing.

The acting director, Steve Kurker, says they hired a retired policeman to re-investigate one of the country's biggest financial scandals and he believes it is now ready for prosecution.

A comprehensive report was originally presented to police in 1998 with recommendations that charges should be laid against the former manager, Nga Pierre but nothing was done.

At the time, the Public Expenditure Review Committee said that Mr Pierre displayed an appalling understanding of the basic principles of financial accountability.

The former manager is also alleged to have transferred more than 60,000 U.S. dollars from the corporation's accounts to his own personal account.

Police first lost the report and then found it again but no prosecution was ever pursued.

Mr Kurker says a decision was made to continue chasing the case because of the missing money.

He says police now have the new report which will also be presented to parliament within the next couple of weeks.