Judge orders liquidation of company tied to Sir Ngatata Love fraud

Sir Ngatata Love, a former chief executive of Te Puni Kokiri, was sentenced on fraud charges to two-and-a-half years in ...
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ

Sir Ngatata Love, a former chief executive of Te Puni Kokiri, was sentenced on fraud charges to two-and-a-half years in prison after a three-week trial at the High Court in Wellington.

A company linked to Sir Ngatata Love's fraud case has been put into liquidation.

In late 2016, Inland Revenue (IRD) successfully applied to have Pipitea Street Development (PSDL) restored to the companies office register, then quickly launched liquidation proceedings.

But the proceedings were put on hold for two months, because IRD could not find its last director, Shaan Stevens.

Stevens’ Kaiwharawhara mansion was once valued at more than $4.5 million, but sold for $3.1m in a mortgagee sale.
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Stevens’ Kaiwharawhara mansion was once valued at more than $4.5 million, but sold for $3.1m in a mortgagee sale.

The law firm named as PSDL's registered address said it was no longer associated with the company.

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On Tuesday, during a short hearing in Wellington High Court, Associate Judge Warwick Smith put the company into liquidation following a further application by IRD.

Shaan Stevens was sentenced to home detention in 2011. The charges were not related to Sir Ngatata Love's case, in which ...
MAARTEN HOLL/FAIRFAX NZ

Shaan Stevens was sentenced to home detention in 2011. The charges were not related to Sir Ngatata Love's case, in which he appeared as a witness.

No one representing the company appeared in court.

In October, Love was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison after a High Court trial found him guilty of defrauding the Wellington Tenths Trust, of which he was chairman.

The court found that in 2006 and early 2007 Love arranged for PSDL, a company controlled by his then partner Lorraine Skiffington, to be awarded a contract by Auckland developer Redwood Group, which was seeking to develop on Tenths Trust land.

The proceeds of two payments totalling around $1.5 million was used to pay down debt on a beachfront home on Moana Rd in Plimmerton, which Love jointly owned with Skiffington, a former advisor to former attorney-general Margaret Wilson.

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In April, Love appealed his sentence and conviction on the grounds his "disabled state" made him unfit to plead and stand trial.

A decision on the appeal was reserved.

PSDL was set up by Skiffington and Stevens, who she had worked with at consultancy Guinness Gallagher.

Stevens, a former chairman of Wellington Free Ambulance and Victoria University of Wellington council member, has also been convicted and served a sentence of home detention for fraud.

The charges were not related to the Love case, in which he appeared as a trial witness.

PSDL was struck off the companies register after failing to file an annual return since 2011, but was restored in 2016 when there was no opposition to the IRD's application.

Earlier this year, IRD sent the documents to Wellington law firm Gault Mitchell, the registered address of PSDL, but was told the office was no longer associated with the company.

Since then the department has been trying to find an address for Stevens.

Stevens, who was declared bankrupt after serving the sentence of home detention, is now based in Singapore, according to his LinkedIn profile .

Skiffington quit as a director of PSDL in February 2011.

About 18 months later, she was appearing as a witness in the High Court trial of Barrie James Skinner and David Ingram Rowley, her accountants, where allegations that she benefited from a payment designed to be concealed from the Tenths Trust first surfaced.

When the judgment of the pair's trial became public, Love stepped down as chairman of the Wellington Tenths Trust and several weeks later the Serious Fraud Office confirmed it was investigating.

Skiffington was due to face charges alongside Love, but was granted a permanent stay against prosecution on account of her ill health.

 - Stuff

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