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Former CERA employees facing fraud charges named

Two former employees of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority facing fraud charges can now be named.

Simon Nikoloff (far left) Gerard Gallagher (second from the left) with lawyers. Source: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

By Anan Zaki of rnz.co.nz  

Simon Nikoloff and Gerard Gallagher, were charged with corrupt use of official information in August last year, following an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.

It came after a 2017 report by the State Services Commission, alleging that the two had a clear conflict of interest when arranging property deals through their own company while still employed by CERA.

Nikoloff and Gallagher appeared at the High Court in Christchurch this morning, where name suppression was lifted.

Both deny any wrong doing.

Nikoloff is facing two charges of corrupt use of official information and Gallagher faces three charges.

They are being represented by lawyers James Rapley QC and Kathryn Dalziel.

They have been remanded on bail until their next appearance at the court in October.

When the report by Michael Heron QC on behalf of the State Services Commission was released in 2017, the commissioner Peter Hughes said based on the findings, he would have recommended firing the two men if they still worked for CERA.

"I consider their actions to be serious misconduct that is unacceptable in the New Zealand Public Service," he said in a statement at the time.

"I am unable to direct state sector employers when making employment decisions, however based on what I have seen in Mr Heron's report, if it were up to me I would not employ these individuals," Hughes said in 2017.

Gallagher and Nikoloff went on to work for Crown-owned company Ōtākaro but were stood down during the investigation.

The trial is scheduled for August next year.