Te Rangihiroa Whakaruru at Auckland District Court this morning / Source - File
The Māori King’s secretary, Te Rangihiroa Whakaruru has pleaded guilty to six counts of forgery, obtaining by deception and lying to Serious Fraud Office investigators.
Tukuroirangi Morgan, a long-time critic of Whakaruru told Te Ao Māori News:
“We’ve got kids going to school without kai and lunches in their bags. And yet we got Rangi Whakaruru where he has manipulated the process and taken thousands and thousands. He had a stomach staple, luxury cars and first class travel."
The extent of Whakaruru’s fraud was such that Morgan felt that he, “Should not be re-hired by the iwi.”
Whakaruru operated as the King’s personal secretary, a role that has existed for over 100 years. As such he had direct access to the King’s finances.
The modus operandi behind the fraud was to produce false invoices to obtain reimbursement from Waikato-Tainui entities such as Ururangi Trust and Tainui Group Holdings.
Examples of these false invoices include, an $8,200 trailer being reimbursed at $11,075, two Mercy Ascot Hospital invoices of $14,812 and $48,000 for medical procedures and services for Kiingi Tuuheitia when in fact, no such services were performed.