Exclusive - Trust speaks out after Sir Ngatata Love guilty versdict

By Heta Gardiner

The Port Nicholson Settlement Trust will pursue recovering funds following the guilty verdict against Sir Ngatata Love.

Chief Executive, Jason Fox, told Māori Television a dark cloud had been lifted and the trust could finally move forward.

“The good thing about the criminal court is that they can give you authority to pursue issues like this on your own.  We are just waiting to that authorisation and then we will go about pursuing the funds,” said Mr. Fox.

It is the first time the trust has been able to comment publicly on the case since fraud investigations began four years ago. 

“It’s one of the problems with our court process. If you get caught drink driving, you can be in jail within a month but if you're accused of fraud - four years,” he said.

The Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust was established in August 2008 to receive, administer and manage a Treaty settlement with four main iwi, known as the Taranaki Whanui.

Sir Ngatata Love was a previous chairman of the trust. Love's trial heard that three million dollars had been wrongly obtained. 

The Trust says it intends recovering funds obtained by Sir Ngatata's partner, Lorraine Skiffington.  Skiffington was also investigated for fraud but was too ill to stand trial.

“Despite that, we still need to pursue the money.  Her dealings with this trust and the money she received needs to be looked at.  That is on me to recover those funds for the betterment of the iwi,” said Fox.

Mr. Fox says he is looking at pursuing monies through the criminal court.