Man tries to defraud Trust Waikato

BELINDA FEEK
Last updated 13:07 05/10/2012

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A Hamilton jury has found a Congolese man guilty of attempting to defraud money off Trust Waikato.

Bondo Nyumba Kawaya tried, through his company Family Solution Trust of New Zealand (FTS) Ltd to get $25,000 off the Trust in July 2010.

Kawaya's company is run from his Chartwell house and exists to provide youth and adult counselling, parenting advice, driver licensing education and other  community services.

Kawaya was found guilty in the Hamilton District Court of falsifying his Kiwibank bank statement between May 1 and June 14, 2010 by pasting over its balance of -$1.04 and replacing it with ''16636'' ($16,636.00).

On June 14, Kawaya  submitted an application form on behalf of FTS to Trust Waikato seeking funds from the mid-year funding grants.

However, several deficiencies were quickly picked up on by Trust Waikato staff who asked him to supply a financial statement.

Between June 14 and July 15 Kawaya created a five page document purportedly being the FST audited financial statements for the year ending 30 June 2010 as prepared by Hamilton Tax Firm TAX LINK.

However Trust Waikato staff saw  it was a forgery - based upon its type style, spelling, grammatical errors and phraseology.

Before contacting police, staff approached TAX LINK who confirmed FST was not a client of its firm.

In his trial, Kawaya denied it was he who did the forgery, rather another person who has since left the country.

A jury found him guilty on all six charges including using a forged document, creating a forged document and  altering a document with intent to defraud.

Bev Gatenby, Trust Waikato's chief executive, said it was rare for people to try and defraud them of money.

''The vast majority of people involved in community organisations are trying to do their best for the community.''

She said the Trust took ''very seriously any attempt to fraudulently receive donations, which the trust provides on behalf of the community''. 

''In this case, we picked up the possibility of fraud through our usual processes for assessing applications for donations and reported our concerns to the police.''

Officer in charge of the case, Detective Sergeant Dave Grace of Waikato corporate fraud squad, said Kawaya's offending was unsophisticated

He also said police believe Kawaya - who sat with an English interpreter at his side during the trial - is a fluent speaker of English, who had even acted as an ''unofficial'' interpreter for his Congolese community.

Kawaya was sentenced to 200 hours' community work.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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