19 Apr 2024

A timeline of the Rimutaka Prison corruption and bribery scandal

5:18 pm on 19 April 2024
Prison wire.

Rimutaka Prison. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Petrol station rendezvous, $3700 cash and ice cream containers of food: This is the Rimutaka Prison corruption scandal played out.

A 37-year-old former Corrections officer, who has interim name suppression, last week pleaded guilty to three charges of corruption and bribery for bringing contraband into the prison over about a month.

A police summary has revealed how it all unfolded.

It states a deal was struck in 2020, when the officer agreed to smuggle in goods for a prisoner in exchange for cash from the prisoner's partner.

In late October, the prisoner transferred money into his partner's bank account, and asked her to drive from Manawatū to Wellington to meet the officer and pay him $1200. The money changed hands at Mobil in Paremata.

The next day, the officer delivered the goods: two 50g packets of tobacco, blue Zig Zag papers and a black lighter, placed in two paper cups and popped through the prisoner's cell door flap.

A few days later, the officer and the prisoner's partner again met at Mobil Paremata - but this time, another $1200 was accompanied by "a gold coloured ice-cream container full of food". The officer took that container into work and left it in the laundry, where another prisoner passed it to the first prisoner when he brought his washing in.

After another few days, the officer slid an envelope containing 50g of tobacco under the prisoner's cell door.

The final meeting between the officer and the prisoner's partner took place at Maidstone Park in Upper Hutt, when he was given $1300 and another gold coloured ice cream container of food. That was smuggled in via another laundry exchange.

The officer admitted meeting the prisoner's partner three times, and smuggling containers of food into the prison.

But he denied bringing in anything else, and said while he was offered cash, he never accepted it.

The man was remanded on bail until his sentencing in July. The maximum penalty is seven years in jail.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs