Whanau Ora funds drug deals - police
Thu, 02 Aug 2012 7:19a.m.
Money from the Government's Whanau Ora program has been used by gang members to buy cannabis for drug deals, police say.
Police documents presented to Dunedin District Court on Wednesday say the Mongrel Mob used about $20,000 of Whanau Ora money to fund a drug shipment from Auckland to the South Island in March, the Otago Daily Times reports.
Michael Logan Wong-Tong, 26, of Turangi, was one of four men charged jointly with conspiracy to sell cannabis. He has pleaded guilty and will be sentenced in October.
Police say they discovered $20,000 was misappropriated from the We Against Violence Trust - which had a contract with Te Puni Kokori (the Maori Development Ministry) to deliver services via the Whanau Ora program until April - during their investigation into drug smuggling.
Ten men were arrested during the operation and four have been charged with dishonestly converting the trust's money.
Police say they intercepted phone calls between the men, one saying they had "booked a van" from Auckland to the South Island and he "had it sorted as he was going to use the Whanau Ora money".
Police searched the van on a Cook Strait ferry and seized 3.15kg of cannabis, which would have cost $24,500.
The We Against Violence Trust did work on whanau violence and community support.
Whanau Ora Minister Tariana Turia declined to comment, saying the matter was still before the courts.
A Te Puni Kokori spokeswoman said the ministry was assisting police. She declined to comment further.
Post a Comment
Before commenting, please take the time to read our moderation guide
(Won't be published)
5/08/2012 7:23:32 a.m.
I think the idea was a good one but in theory there was always going to be misappropriation of funding as there obviously is too much trust and not enough accountability checks done. I wonder why when it is a govt initiative these were not thought through before hand. Almost like it was set up to fail. There will always be bad apples and with checks on benefits being so stringent why was this not policed better. Perhaps a question for parliament?
4/08/2012 1:40:18 p.m.
In real terms this isn't something that only Maori Organizations are doing, unfortunately the spotlight always seems to be brighter when its a Maori organization thats offended. However as a maori man I am getting really sick and tired of the opportunities and benefits that we have fought so hard for and the disgusting way we misuse those opportunities. Recently I have been privvy to information in regard to a local organization that has exaggerated "numbers" in order to obtain funding. Frankly Ive had enough of our own people making our own people look stupid! If we keep this stupidity up people, we will only prove that we are every bit as dumb as we are portrayed to be!
2/08/2012 12:33:10 p.m.
Look, this was seen coming along time ago. It was stated that these funds were going to be mismanaged, misappropriated and misused. Winston has said this from the start, no one listened and this is what has happened. The Maori Party may have all of the good intentions in the world, but they have absolutely no way of controlling the mechanisms by which they hope to achieve it. I agree with KANE, it is a joke and its a long one that started when the Maori Party first thought it would be beneficial to create Whanau Ora...
2/08/2012 12:26:06 p.m.
I need some food please, umm and a new car i prefer the $49,995 one.
2/08/2012 12:07:38 p.m.
Many police officers have been imprisoned for dealing drugs paid for by the tax payer. Guilty or not one would expect a small portion of tax payers money deviously mishandled by government employees, WINZ would be a classic example not to mention Rodney Hide and his $50k Hawaian vacation. All levels of society are suceptable to this rot, puting aside the lynching mentality it's simply an action that's been noted.
2/08/2012 10:40:14 a.m.
Wonder how she can spin this into not being Maori's fault but the white mans...she will try, watch this space!
2/08/2012 10:23:31 a.m.
Scams such as these need exposure. Stop throwing away taxpayer money on vocal pressure groups. Without proper management most of it gets wasted. Tired of excuses.
2/08/2012 9:58:03 a.m.
No mention of JohnKeys shell companies?i guess the media failed to inform people about that one.
2/08/2012 7:56:23 a.m.
I think a news agency really needs to push how public funds are being so grossly misspent... Tariana Turia really needs to be pushed on this its becoming a joke on websites... People suggesting seeking funding from the Whanau Ora program to get their lawns mowed and word it in such away that it would be great for their community... Mismanaged funds and dodge management... And Tariana Turia has offered the taxpayers nothing but weak excuses....
Prime Minister John Key has labelled the Labour-led Opposition the "devil beast"...
What began as a protest for more pay has morphed into a battle against cheap bur...
Police had to physically push anti-poverty protestors back after they tried to b...
Tonight comes the Budget announcement you didn't hear yesterday – Food for Schoo...
One major issue heading into the Budget was child poverty....
Copyright © 2013 MediaWorks TV. All Rights Reserved.