Former HR boss charged over $726K fraud

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The former HR head accused of defrauding $726,000 from the Ministry of Transport is now in custody after she was arrested while attempting to re-enter New Zealand.

Yesterday evening, the Serious Fraud Office confirmed that 50-year-old Joanne Harrison had been apprehended at Auckland International Airport on Friday.

Harrison had been the general manager of organisational development for the Ministry of Transport until early last month but was fired after investigators uncovered links between her and the six-figure fraud.

As a senior manager, Harrison was one of five people reporting directly to the chief executive and was authorised to spend money without sign-off. Her time at the ministry was served largely under former chief executive Martin Matthews, who has since left.

British-born Harrison appeared at the Manukau District Court on Friday charged with three counts of dishonestly taking or using a document – she did not enter a plea and will next appear in the same court on 16 August, 2016.

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