No parole for former HR leader

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A former HR head who was sentenced to more than three years in jail after defrauding her employer of hundreds of thousands of dollars has had her parole denied this week.

Joanne Harrison – also known as Joanne Sharp – stole $726,000 from the Ministry of Transport while she was the general manager of organisational development.  

The UK-born HR head held the senior position for three years before her misconduct was finally uncovered in 2016. She was later sentenced to three years and seven months in prison after charges were laid by the Serious Fraud Office.

“She was an incredibly manipulative, dishonest person who has now gone to jail for some time,” transport minister Simon Bridges said soon after Harrison’s sentencing.

Both Bridges and the Ministry of Transport came under fire when it was revealed Harrison had previous fraud convictions in both Australia and New Zealand. Red flags had also been raised by a number of employees who doubted her integrity – all three were made redundant just months after voicing their concerns. 

Now, it’s been revealed that Harrison’s first bid for parole has been denied with the board indicating it believes she still poses an undue risk to the safety of the community.

Harrison's next appearance before the Parole Board will be in March next year. She has been in custody since August last year - a total of 14 months.

Related stories:
Did HR head make whistleblowers redundant?
Former HR boss charged over $726K fraud

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