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Name suppression lifted as Ngatata Love fraud trial kicks off

Wednesday 3rd August 2016

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Maori leader Ngatata Love appeared in the High Court in Wellington today accused of obtaining a secret commission and can be named for the first time after a three-year name suppression order was lifted. 

Love, who was made a Principal Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to Maori in 2008, is charged with obtaining a secret commission and that he obtained significant sums by deception. The Crown says he signed an agreement in late 2006 with a property developer to ensure it could lease land owned by the Wellington Tenths Trust, which Love chaired, receiving service fees through a company owned by his partner, Lorraine Skiffington, without the trust's knowledge.

The Crown says Love and Skiffington were paid $1.5 million, which they used to repay a loan. Skiffington was also charged but has been granted a permanent stay due to her ill health, while Ngatata Love's son Matene Love had already pleaded guilty to accepting a secret commission. 

Ngatata Love is represented by Colin Carruthers QC, while Grant Burston is appearing for the Crown. 

The judge-alone trial before Justice Graham Lang is continuing.

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