On March 23, 2024, Robert Tapaitau, the former Deputy Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison for fraud-related charges.

To know more: https://www.fcctimes.com/2024/03/23/former-cook-islands-deputy-pm-jailed-for-fraud/?utm_source=websiteText&utm_medium=FCCPoI4apr24

Tapaitau was convicted on January 31, 2024, on three charges of using a document to obtain a pecuniary advantage and one charge of conspiracy to defraud. His conviction led to the 2024 Penrhyn by-election after he lost his parliamentary seat.

Additionally, former Environment Service director Ngatokorua Puna received a five-year prison sentence for conspiracy to defraud, using a document to obtain pecuniary advantage, and forgery. His wife, Diane Charlie-Puna, who previously headed Infrastructure Cook Islands, was sentenced to 18 months in prison. The trio was accused of misappropriating public funds totaling around $70,000 (US$ 43,074.67) between April 2019 and March 2021.