Alleged fraud at Otago University

Police are investigating after an internal audit by the University of Otago uncovered an alleged case of fraud.

A staff member was escorted from the university by security guards after the alleged fraud was discovered, the Otago Daily Times has been told.

Detective Senior Sergeant Kallum Croudis said police were investigating after receiving a complaint from the university yesterday.

It was too early in the investigation to provide any details about the case, such as how much money was allegedly taken, Det Snr Sgt Croudis said.

The university declined to comment.

The ODT has been told a substantial amount of money was involved.

The university declined to confirm reports from multiple sources that the man, a non-academic member of staff, was escorted from the university by security guards.

A spokesman for Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce said when asked: "The minister was informed by officials from the Tertiary Education Commission [TEC] about the matter during a meeting yesterday.

"He was told that the University of Otago was taking appropriate steps to deal with it."

The TEC said it was "aware of the issue", but declined to give any further details.

"As this is an operational issue and the university is an autonomous organisation, it is not appropriate for the TEC to comment any further," a spokeswoman said.

Members of the university's council were informed about the issue during the closed part of their most recent meeting on July 10.

Council members were told the matter was discovered as part of "internal auditing processes" and the university wanted to give members a "heads-up" in case information about the alleged fraud leaked to the media.

The staff member at the centre of the allegations declined to comment when contacted by the ODT yesterday.



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