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Labour hire boss jailed on tax evasion charges

An Auckland labour hire company director has been sentenced to 27 months in prison, with his company, now in liquidation, still owing more than $1.1 million in PAYE, KiwiSaver and student loan deductions.

Sione Na’aniumotu POMEE ran Pomee Engineering Services, which provided workers to the building construction industry.

He was sentenced in the Manukau District Court on May 12 after earlier admitting 66 charges of evading or attempting to evade PAYE, student loan and KiwiSaver deductions.

Despite warnings and offers of help from Inland Revenue, Pomee continued offending over a seven year period. The court heard the magnitude of the offending was a significant breach of trust for the community in general and his employees in particular.

From November 2012 until March 2019 Pomee filed returns where he intentionally understated or didn’t disclose wages and bonus payments made to staff. The effect of that was to reduce the amount of PAYE his company owed to IR.

Instead of paying tax he chose to use the money to fund personal and lifestyle choices and admitted using company’ funds for significant personal spending.

About $1 million was transferred from the Company’s bank account to Pomee’s joint account with a relative and was used for overseas travel and spending; personal shopping including in high-end luxury retail stores; bonuses, various loans and gifts to himself; and more than $25,000.00 which was transferred to Jamaican Money Market for his nephew’s music career.

In relation to PAYE, the Company remains liable for a total amount of $1,148,756.99

The judge gave Pomee a 5% discount in his sentence for his good work in Samoa and Tonga but no discount for remorse which she found was only in hindsight.

Last updated: 13 May 2022
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