13 Dec 2011

NZ fraud-accused appears in Brisbane court

8:13 pm on 13 December 2011

A New Zealand public servant accused of fleecing millions of dollars from an Australian health department has appeared in court charged with fraud.

Hohepa Morehu-Barlow, also known as Joel Barlow, made a brief appearance in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Tuesday on one charge of defrauding Queensland Health of $A11 million.

Mr Morehu-Barlow worked for Queensland Health since 2005. It is alleged that he funnelled the money into his own account on 17 November this year, AAP reports.

The 36-year-old spent Monday night in hospital after he was found unconscious in his luxury inner-city apartment.

Mr Morehu-Barlow's lawyer Adam McGill tried to have his client excused, saying he was "not in a fit state" to appear in court.

However, he was brought into the dock briefly to hear details of the charge read out before the case was adjourned until 16 January next year.

Mr Morehu-Barlow did not apply for bail.

The Queensland government has frozen about $A12 million of his assets, including property, artwork and cash.