9 Oct 2018

Former senior members of charity face fraud charges

1:43 pm on 9 October 2018

Two former employees of a charity that offered domestic violence prevention services are facing fraud charges.

Exterior signage at the Manukau District Court

Manukau District Court. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Tapualii Raewyn Uitime, 47, and Betty Leuina Sio, 54, entered no plea when they appeared at the Manukau District Court today.

Ms Uitime, who was the operations manager at the now defunct Pacific Island Safety and Prevention Project, also known as the Project, faces 26 charges of dishonestly using a document and 11 charges of forgery.

Ms Sio, who was the charity's chief executive, faces four charges of dishonestly using a document.

The Auckland-based organisation received government funding for a range of social support services.

They have been bailed to re-appear in court later this month.

The Serious Fraud Office said the Pacific Island Safety and Prevention Project was a registered charity from June 2008 to March 2018.

It described itself as a community development social service that integrated cultural practices to enhance the wellbeing of communities.

The charity offered a range of social support services including family support, counselling, family violence education, domestic violence prevention programmes for men and a Pacific cultural framework for addressing family violence.

By 30 June 2014, the Project was receiving government funding of about $2.5 million a year to provide domestic violence prevention services to the Pacific Island community, mostly in the Auckland region.

Funding was provided by the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Justice, and the Department of Corrections.