Thursday March 22, 2018   Last updated 15:06PM

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Land trustees charged with fraud

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The Serious Fraud Office has charged two trustees of one of the country’s northernmost land blocs with looting more than a million dollars.

60-year-old Stephen Henare appeared in the Auckland District Court yesterday on charges of theft by a person in a special relationship, and was remanded on bail.

His sister, Margaret Dixon, 59, failed to appear.

The pair and five others were appointed in 2012 to manage Parengarenga 3G, a 511 hectare forestry block of Maori land.

In handing over responsibility to the owners, the Maori Trustee, which has been managing the land, transferred $1.1 million to the trust’s bank accounts.

The SFO alleges between over the next year the pair drained the accounts, leaving debts due for the care of the forest unpaid.

By January 2014 there was only $13.41 left of the funds.

SFO director Julie Read says the alleged fraud by the supposed kaitiaki jeopardised an asset which was meant to benefit generations to come.

Copyright © 2017, UMA Broadcasting Ltd:

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