Mr Hika Te Kowhai, 29 years, appeared last Friday in the Moruya Local Court on charges of fraud and using a false document to obtain a financial advantage. Mr Te Kowhai’s appearance follows the appearance on 26 March 2012 of Mr Shane Newton Carriage, aged 33 years, in the Batemans Bay Local Court on similar charges.
Both Mr Te Kowhai and Mr Carriage were former directors of the Gudhuga Training and Employment Aboriginal Corporation (Gudhuga).
Mr Te Kowhai has been charged under sections 192E(1)(b) and 254(b)(ii) of the Crimes Act 1900 (New South Wales). The charges follow a joint investigation by the New South Wales Police and the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, Anthony Beven.
Based in Moruya, Gudhuga provides training and employment services for Aboriginal people on the south coast. Until 2009, when it was known as the Cobowra CDEP Aboriginal Corporation, it managed a Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) program.
It is alleged that on 10 November 2010 Hika Te Kowhai and Shane Newton Carriage sold a motor vehicle belonging to Gudhuga. The two men subsequently arranged for the proceeds of the sale ($10 000) to be paid into a bank account that they controlled and which belonged to Walbunja Aboriginal Corporation (Walbunja). It is alleged the men later withdrew the $10 000 and used the money for their own benefit.
‘It is a matter of the highest importance that directors of corporations at all times act in the best interests of their members—their motivation can never be one of self-interest,’ said Mr Beven. ‘This joint investigation between my office and the New South Wales Police clearly demonstrates that action will be taken against directors who allegedly act dishonestly and break the law.’
Magistrate Degnan adjourned the charges against Hika Te Kowhai until 30 April 2012 to the Batemans Bay Local Court.
Charges against Shane Newton Carriage were adjourned to Batemans Bay Local Court for 16 April 2012.
The matter is being prosecuted by the New South Wales Police.
16 April 2012
Christa de Jager
(02) 6146 4737
Ref: ORIC MR1112-33