The lover of a senior Ports of Auckland manager turned fraudster will likely join her partner in crime behind bars after the pair stole more than $368,000 of Auckland ratepayers’ money.

Litia Vuniduvu was today found guilty by a jury after a two-week trial at the Auckland District Court of 50 charges of dishonestly using a document.

She had been caught alongside former Ports of Auckland manager Paul Wayne Bainbridge when an elaborate and lengthy fake invoice scheme was uncovered.

The pair swindled the Auckland Council-owned company out of $368,842.50 during a three-year period.

Hundreds of thousands more of ratepayer dollars were spent on the investigation into the pair and the port’s legal fees throughout the lengthy court process, which began some two years ago.

Vuniduvu, who arrived in New Zealand from Fiji in 2007, first met Bainbridge on an internet dating website in 2012, court documents released to the Herald reveal.

The duo were quickly entangled in a romantic relationship, despite Bainbridge being married.

Their lies soon turned to crime.

Bainbridge had been working at the ports as a contractor since 2011 and from July 2012 became the manager of its ICT services.

In the position, he had financial authority for expenditure for several millions of dollars, had the authority to approve single purchase orders and invoices of up to $100,000, and to hire contractors for up to six months.

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