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Rimutaka Prison rocked by claims of corruption

An investigation into suspected criminal activity at Rimutaka Prison has resulted in six people being charged.

The six defendants appeared in Hutt Valley District Court on Tuesday.

It is alleged that corrections staff were bribed with sex and money to take contraband into Rimutaka Prison.

One person failed to appear in court and a warrant has been issued for their arrest.

The three-year investigation, led by the National Organised Crime Group [NOCG], was coined Operation Portia and launched following Operation Dory – a drug-related investigation at Rimutaka Prison.

Of the six people charged, one is a prisoner, one is a current employee, one is a member of the public, and the others are former employees. All six have been charged with offences involving corruption and bribery.

During the investigation, police worked “closely and collaboratively” with Corrections and assisted the prison in strengthening its management of systems and processes.

Police interviewed almost 200 people as part of Operation Portia, including Corrections staff, prisoners, and other witnesses.

“Our investigation involved tactics like the interrogation of phones and bank data, and viewing hours of CCTV,” a police statement said.

The investigation has been described as “incredibly complex and dynamic”.

Investigators also uncovered other alleged offences, including assault and one case of using a document, that are separate from the corruption and bribery charges and resulted in five people being charged.

Four of those five have been before the courts, while one prosecution is still ongoing.

Police are unable to provide any further information on Operation Portia as the matter is now before the courts.

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