Former Cook Islands deputy PM Robert Tapaitau jailed for fraud

The former deputy prime minister of the Cook Islands and two others in his administration have been sent to prison for a range of fraud charges.

The Cook Islands News reported High Court Chief Justice Patrick Keane sentenced Robert Tapaitau to two years and nine months in prison.

Tapaitau had faced three separate charges of use of a document to obtain pecuniary advantage and one of conspiracy to defraud.

He was convicted of “all or most” offences, a ruling from Chief Justice Keane said.

The former National Environment Service director Nga Puna was jailed for five years.

His wife, the former Infrastructure Cook Islands secretary Diane Charlie-Puna, was sentenced to 18 months’ jail.

A by-election has already been held for Tapaitau’s Penrhyn seat.

It was won by Sarakura Tapaitau, the former deputy prime minister’s wife.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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