Disgraced ACC manager must repay $160k

Last updated 05:00 16/03/2011
BREACH OF TRUST: Former ACC national property manager Malcolm  Mason leaves Wellington District Court after his sentencing.
PHIL REID/ The Dominion Post
BREACH OF TRUST: Former ACC national property manager Malcolm Mason leaves Wellington District Court after his sentencing.

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Former ACC national property manager Malcolm Mason is to pay back the $160,000 he was paid after giving a property developer information about a building that ACC was planning to lease.

Mason was charged with corruption and bribery after a Serious Fraud Office investigation and was sentenced yesterday to 11 months' home detention.

Crown solicitor Grant Burston said a profit forfeiture order was made in the High Court at Wellington and the money would be held in trust to be disposed of under the Criminal Proceeds Recovery Act.

Judge Denys Barry in Wellington District Court said Mason had grossly breached the trust placed in him.

"It was insidious erosion in the integrity of a government agency and government service generally."

He said the money was for Mason's lavish lifestyle.

Mason pleaded guilty to three charges of corruption and bribery. He took $160,000 from a property developer. He was also given a $9000 trip to the Singapore Grand Prix, and passed on confidential government information to a business associate who could make use of it.

Mason joined ACC when he was 18 and rose to be national property manager, responsible for leasing and tendering for buildings.

Judge Barry said Mason had taken advantage of his position.

A victim impact statement from ACC said it was the perception, if not the reality, that Mason had threatened the integrity of a state services agent in New Zealand by corruption from within its ranks.

Those who had worked with Mason felt their own professional integrity had been brought into question.

Judge Barry said it was the sort of loss that was not quantifiable, the eroding of confidence in New Zealand's corruption-free status.

Outside the court, Mason said he was ashamed, especially because of the effect on his family.

Suppression lapsed on the name of Bayley's director Rohan Hill, who gave Mason the Singapore holiday. Mr Hill was the broker for a Wellington building in which ACC was planning to centralise its offices.

Gregory Hutt, a former director of an office design and refit company, faces three charges of giving $160,000 to Mason in return for information that led to the buying of a building in Whangarei.

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- The Dominion Post

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