Make a complaint: MP urges action on false builder stat decs
SUNSHINE Coast, Gympie and Noosa councils have been urged to provide police evidence of false statutory declarations being issued in the lead-up to the collapse of Ri-Con Contractors Pty Ltd which went into liquidation last month.
Ri-Con was working on contracts with all three councils when it closed owing more than 300 trade and subcontract creditors in excess of $3.6 million.
Documents showed unsecured creditors had invoices outstanding for in excess of 90 days.
Kawana MP Jarrod Bleijie has written to all three councils calling on them to make formal complaints to the Queensland Police Service Financial Crime and Cyber Group.
It comes after the MP contacted Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll requesting a fraud investigation into allegations the builder issued false statutory declarations subcontractors had been paid ahead of the release of progress payments by the local authorities.
Todd Penfold of Penfold Projects, a landscaping business engaged by Ri-Con to work on the Caloundra Tennis Centre for Sunshine Coast Council and a skate park and youth centre for Gympie Council, has been left unpaid $200,000 on the two projects.
The losses have brought to $1 million the total builders going broke have cost his company in the past decade.
Mr Penfold said instability in the construction industry had caused the closure of his Sunshine Coast office in Maroochydore, had meant staff were laid off and he had needed to sell property to cover losses.
He was also concerned at the personal stress caused to his key administrative staff and family.
Mr Penfold said the councils should have done better due diligence on Ri-Con's ability to complete the projects and checked that statutory declarations were accurate.
"The councils should open their wallets to make this mess go away," he said. "And then maybe spend another million to get their systems right.
"I'm not going to stop until I get someone to listen. I'm done with it."
Mr Bleijie said he had been advised the police required the councils provide information concerning the circumstances of the signing of the statutory declarations and evidence they were fraudulent before they would consider investigation.
Sunshine Coast Council would consider a Notice of Motion at its Thursday general meeting from Cr Greg Rogerson (Div 10) asking for an investigation into the immediate implementation of the requirement for Project Trust Accounts for all works it lets out to tender.
The move was aimed at shoring up payment security for subcontract small business that supply material and labour to council projects.