Nine more Corrections staff stood down amid Rimutaka Prison corruption investigation

  • Updated
  • 26/05/2022

Nine staff have been suspended at Rimutaka Prison amid an investigation into corruption at the jail, it can be revealed.

Rimutaka Prison is currently embroiled in a corruption investigation linked to money laundering and drug smuggling called Operation Portia

The most recent suspensions were not believed to be directly linked to Operation Portia but Newshub understands police discovered other code of conduct breaches while carrying out that investigation.

Earlier Corrections chief custodial officer Neil Beales earlier told Newshub that five staff members at Rimutaka Prison have been placed on special leave. This has since been updated to nine.

Beale told Newshub in a statement: "Nine members of staff at Rimutaka Prison have been placed on special leave today (Thursday 26 May) and employment investigations are underway after allegations of staff misconduct were identified."

Beales said 10 staff members have been identified as allegedly being involved in actions "of concern" since November, and would be investigated further.

He said of those 10 staff members, one had already resigned.

Beales said of the remaining nine staff members, two were already involved in other employment investigations.

"This will remain the case, alongside five staff who have been placed on special leave pending employment investigations," Beales said in a statement.

"The final four staff will be spoken to by senior management shortly. These nine staff include members of the management team and varying levels of Corrections officers."

Beales said Corrections was continuing to assist the police with investigations.

"We are investigating a range of allegations of staff misconduct," he said.

"This includes introducing contraband (including food and cellphones), workplace bullying, failure to follow procedures critical to the safety and security of the prison, failure to maintain professional boundaries and inappropriately accessing prisoner information.

"We will not tolerate this type of behaviour in our prisons. We expect a high standard of conduct from all employees."