Fuel card misused for three years

A Timaru man was convicted of misusing an Arowhenua Marae fuel card following a defended hearing in the Timaru District Court yesterday.

Jamahl Tane Kingi, 32, was alleged to have misused the Z fuel card 90 times between 2009 and 2013, to the value of $5038.

He was employed as an administrator and regularly used his personal vehicle on the job.

Kingi told the court he was given the card by the previous manager and following changes in card usage protocols, the treasurer gave him a fuel card and told him "not to be foolish with it".

He said he had three different cards over the four-year period.

In cross-examination, the prosecution claimed that Kingi had signed a document claiming he used the card without any permission from the Arowhenua board.

He claimed to have been "under pressure" to sign the document and said he was being persecuted by his ex-employees.

Judge Jane Farish said there was no dispute Kingi used the card and also no dispute that he used the card to monetary advantage.

She said it was important to understand the various changes happening at the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010.

"There was a change of treasurer and manager. At the same time, there was a significant change in accounting procedures. The protocol procedure for Z fuel card also changed when it became apparent the cards were being misused and a logbook system came into practice."

Farish said the prosecution had not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that prior to February 2010 there was a ban on card usage and she decided to amend the charge.

"The defendant was fully aware that personal usage of the Z card was not lawful after March 2010. I have convicted you for the period of March 1, 2010 to April 2013."

Kingi is unemployed but was paid an unknown sum of money in September 2013 following an Employment Court dispute with the marae board. The judge called for a full report about what he had done with the payout. She also called for reparation and full sentencing reports.

She reiterated that if Kingi did not appear remorseful, he could be sentenced to home detention or community detention. He was remanded on bail until July 29.

The Timaru Herald