Ministry of Transport staffer investigated over missing funds

Ministry of Transport staffer investigated over missing funds

A senior staff member from the Ministry of Transport has been stood down and an inquiry launched after hundreds of thousands of dollars went missing.

Chief executive Peter Mersi says Joanna Harrison is being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office for "significant breaches" of the Code of Conduct.

"My focus is on ensuring this person is held fully to account for her actions, and that any money that may have been misappropriated is recovered."

He was quick to say the ministry's systems, processes and controls are "robust".

"To provide this assurance, a number of reviews are now underway. These focus on internal controls and recruitment processes," he says.

Mr Mersi says Ms Harrison, the general manager of organisational development, was a senior member of the ministry in a position of "high trust".

"My staff feel incredibly let down and betrayed by her actions," he says.

Mr Mersi declined to comment further now the investigation is underway.

But Labour's Sue Moroney said the missing money was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"Rumours of the serious fraud within the ministry have been swirling around the transport sector for weeks," she said.

Transport Minister Simon Bridge's office has declined to comment, saying it was a matter for the ministry.

Newshub. / NZN