Mob-linked trust given grants: report

A confidential report on a Dunedin-based charitable trust with links to the Mongrel Mob reveals the trust received several Government grants, including one for healthy eating.

The Otago Daily Times last month reported that a four-month investigation by Dunedin police had led to the arrest of 10 men, some with Mongrel Mob Notorious connections.

Four Dunedin men were charged with dishonestly converting $20,000 of trust money, with links to Government funding.

Police named the trust as the We Against Violence Trust.

Associate Minister for Social Development Tariana Turia released under the Official Information Act a ministry memo entitled "Alleged Misuse of $20,000 from We Against Violence Trust".

The memo confirms the trust, which was established in 2001, had a recent contract with Te Puni Kokiri (TPK) and received Government funding via the Whanau Integration, Innovation and Engagement Fund.

The contract was to deliver nine whanau plans. It ended in April.

"According to the file, they met all their contracted outcomes, including the whanau plans," the memo noted.

In addition, TPK had a $2000 contract with the trust to undertake a Maara Kai project aimed at building community networks.

Following revelations of the Mongrel Mob's involvement with the trust, TPK sent a "small team to Dunedin to further investigate the contracts".

"TPK have advised that some of the people involved in the trust are amongst those arrested."

TPK this week declined an OIA request for documents relating to its investigation and funding of the trust.

The memorandum also states the trust may have received funding from the Ministry of Health, as part of its Healthy Eating Healthy Action fund.

A Ministry of Health spokesman said district health boards (DHBs) allocated Heha funding"DHBs report back to the ministry about outputs achieved and outcomes contributed to, but the ministry does not approve the allocation of funding to subcontractors."

The Southern District Health Board declined to release documents under the OIA relating to the trust, as the matter was now before the court.

This week, the Salvation Army rejected an assertion in the Ministry of Social Development report that the social agency may have made a payment of $20,000 to the trust.

"We've searched our records and are confident the Salvation Army has made no payments to the We Against Violence Trust," a spokesman said.

- hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

 

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