4 Aug 2011

Kaumatua critical of sentence for fraudster

8:24 am on 4 August 2011

A kaumatua who helped set up iwi social services throughout New Zealand says a former Ngapuhi social welfare manager should have been jailed for defrauding a tribe.

Arapeta Victor Hamilton was sentenced to eight months' home detention and ordered to pay $20,000 in reparations at the Auckland District Court on Wednesday.

Hamilton, 53, is a former director and chief executive of Ngapuhi Iwi Social Services Ltd, set up to help Maori children with community and government-funded projects.

He had earlier been convicted of five counts of fraud brought by the Serious Fraud Office.

The court found Hamilton had diverted funds worth $147,500 to cover personal expenses, including mortgage repayments and investments in a nightclub.

Kingi Taurua, a former Maori adviser to the Minister of Social Welfare, believes Hamilton's sentence should have been more severe.

Mr Taurua says Hamilton spent money that belonged to children and people who really needed funding and the home detention sentence is just a slap on the wrist.

Ngapuhi Iwi Social Services was unavailable for comment.