Former F&P Healthcare manager pleads guilty to corruption

The man has been fired and appeared in court today to face charges. 

A former Fisher & Paykel Healthcare employee has pleaded guilty to corruption-related charges, which happened when he was employed by the NZX-listed company.

Simon William Hall appeared in the Auckland District Court today. He faces one Crimes Act charge of ‘obtaining by deception’ and two charges under Section 8 of the Secret Commissions Act for receiving a secret reward for procuring a contract.

The Serious Fraud Office, which laid the charges, says Mr Hall committed offences while in his role as an F&P area manager based in Auckland and dealing with companies in the Middle Eastern market.

The charges relate to payments received by Mr Hall for approving a Saudi Arabian company as a distributor of F&P products, and a single payment from a Jordanian company to also become a distributor.

It is understood he received about $213,000 in payments from those companies for setting up the deals.

F&P says it had no knowledge Mr Hall received these payments and the man had made false representations to F&P about commission payments for installations of products that never took place.

When the company became aware in 2014 of issues relating to the management of two Middle East distributors the company, with the assistance of a third party, conducted an internal investigation, it says in a statement to the NZX.

After the investigation, Mr Hall was dismissed for misconduct and the matter was referred to the SFO.

“We are disappointed with what has occurred. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare does not tolerate this type of behaviour and, following an independent review, we are confident in our systems to prevent a recurrence,” chief financial officer Tony Barclay says.

Mr Hall will appear for conviction and sentencing in the Auckland District Court on June 9.

SFO director Julie Read says accepting rewards outside of an employment contract which prohibits receipt of any commission or payment, “is a fraudulent act and unacceptable in New Zealand business whether it is on our shores or being conducted overseas."