Guilty plea by Cook Islands promoter

A promoter of Cook Island culture has pleaded guilty to charges brought by the Department of Internal Affairs regarding grant applications for pokie money.

Jacob Samson, 53, from Mangere, Auckland appeared in court on 27 February. The charges relate to grant applications he made in his capacity as chairman of Drums of the Pacific Trust and the Cook Islands Kia Orana Akapuanga Trust.

He has pleaded guilty to:

• two charges of obtaining by deception under s 240 Crimes Act
• eleven charges of altering a document under s 258 Crimes Act and
• one charge of obtaining by deception to cover the entire period of offending, May 2005 to April 2011.

The charges are for offences relating to more than $200 000 distributed from grants made from pokie funds.

The investigation by the Department of Internal Affairs revealed that over a period of six years Samson had altered receipts and bank statements for the purpose of obtaining grants from 11 Societies which distribute money lost on pokie machines to community groups.

General Manager of Regulatory Services at the Department of Internal Affairs, Maarten Quivooy says that this case demonstrates that the Department will investigate alleged non-compliance and will not hesitate to call serious offenders to account.

Samson was remanded on bail until sentencing on 17 April 2013 at the Manukau District Court.

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