Pub boss irate over Winz failure to reveal employee's criminal past

Author
Lincoln Tan, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 14 Aug 2021, 4:23PM
CCTV footage of a staff member allegedly stealing cash from the Shakespeare Tavern. (Photo / video grab)
CCTV footage of a staff member allegedly stealing cash from the Shakespeare Tavern. (Photo / video grab)

Pub boss irate over Winz failure to reveal employee's criminal past

Author
Lincoln Tan, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 14 Aug 2021, 4:23PM

The owner of a historic Auckland pub is angry that Work and Income failed to disclose that an employee he recruited through the agency was a convicted fraudster.

That staff member allegedly broke into a safe at his workplace, the Shakespeare Tavern on Albert St, and took off with about $12,000 early in August.

Police confirmed they are investigating a theft complaint where "a sum of money was reported stolen" at premises in the CBD and that enquiries were ongoing.

Tavern owner Sunny Kaushal now wants Winz or the Ministry of Social Development to take some responsibility.

"We have strongly emphasised to them over many discussions that due to the nature of our industry, the candidates they recommend must be without criminal records or drug involvement," Kaushal said.

Sunny Kaushal is upset that Winz did not tell him about the staff member's background. (Photo / Sylvie Whinray)

When Winz sent the candidate to him, Kaushal said he had assumed it was someone who had been vetted.

In CCTV footage that has been passed on to the police, the staff member was seen drinking with colleagues on Monday, August 2.

The next morning, he was allegedly seen walking into the office where the safe was, opening it after looking at his mobile phone and taking what appeared to be stacks of notes.

In an email to Winz on Friday, Kaushal wrote: "Your client ... who was placed by your office with us for the last six weeks had shockingly planned and burgled our place, he ran away with a large sum $10,000 - $12,000 cash by breaking into the safe along with the master keys.

"It is quite shocking and devastating that the person we trusted on your strong recommendations, offered him the job, shelter (accommodation at our place), food and beverage at half rate, respect and trust, he robbed the same place that provided him the bread and butter."

The historic Shakespeare Tavern on Albert St. (Photo / Sylvie Whinray)

Kaushal said he was "gutted and shocked" that neither Winz or MSD had told him about the candidate's convictions, which he only learned about from the police.

"If we were aware, I believe the theft could be avoided," he said.

"We would like Winz and MSD to take responsibility and ownership ... and assist in recovering our hard-earned money while our business is already struggling to survive."

The money allegedly taken by the staff member included the entire weekend's takings and cash float for three tills at the bar and restaurant.

Winz Auckland Regional Commissioner Mark Goldsmith said he was unable to comment on specific details of this work placement while there is an ongoing police investigation. Nor would he say whether it was standard practice for Winz to hide background information of work placement candidates from would-be employers.

"Pastoral care and post-placement support is offered to all employers," Goldsmith said.

"They are also provided with the contact details of our work brokers so they can contact us about any employees they have recruited through us."