One of the country's largest pokie grant funders is under
investigation by Internal Affairs and the Serious Fraud
Yesterday, Internal Affairs confirmed search warrants had
been issued as part of an ongoing investigation into the
alleged manipulation of pokie grants.
The joint agency investigation involved the ''specialist
resources of the Serious Fraud Office'', gambling compliance
director Debbie Despard said in a statement yesterday.
The department declined to release further details on the
investigation, while the Serious Fraud Office referred
questions back to the department.
The Otago Daily Times understands computers were seized as
part of a raid. The investigation allegedly involves the New
Zealand Community Trust and the Bluegrass Trust.
New Zealand Community Trust chief executive Mike Knell
confirmed to the ODT the trust had been contacted by Internal
Affairs and the Serious Fraud Office, ''who are investigating
a number of lines of inquiry around the distribution of
gaming machine funds''.
The trust did not believe it was the subject of the
''New Zealand Community Trust will continue to assist both
agencies with their investigation and supports any and all
measures to ensure that the distribution of gaming machine
funds is undertaken within the law.''
He declined to comment further until the investigation was
According to its website, NZCT returned nearly $230 million
to authorised purposes since it was formed in 1998.
Bluegrass Trust chief executive Roebyna Bak, of Blenheim,
declined to comment when contacted yesterday.
Both trusts have been significant funders of amateur sport,
community groups and horse racing, particularly southern
Last year, the ODT reported the Bluegrass Trust was the
biggest pokie funder of the southern racing industry, despite
having no pokie venues in Otago and Southland.