Homes inquiry bites watchdog
THE BUILDING Services Authority has been told to clean up its act by the Crime and Misconduct Commission, after an investigation into the watchdog’s handling of the collapse of a Bundaberg building company.
The BSA came under fire after Coral Coast Homes went into liquidation in June, with allegations that it failed to investigate complaints from tradespeople and customers
While the CMC’s independent investigator found no evidence to support those accusations, he uncovered a number of systematic problems with the BSA’s policy and procedures guidelines, record-keeping, staff training and quality control of audits.
Former Coral Coast Homes customer David Kapp and dozens of other customers lost thousands of dollars when the company went into liquidation after trading insolvent for up to six months.
Yesterday Mr Kapp was celebrating, after a six-month long battle for the BSA to be overhauled.
“The attention from the NewsMail and Rob Messenger has brought (the BSA) out to be the toothless tiger they have proved to be,” Mr Kapp said.
“It doesn’t help me, but I hope it will prevent any future problems like this one.”
In a letter to Member for Burnett Rob Messenger, the CMC criticised the BSA for systematic failures after an investigation was launched into the watchdog’s handling of the case.
Mr Messenger asked the CMC to conduct an inquiry after angry customers and tradies made allegations that the BSA failed to investigate their complaints.
BSA general manager Ian Jennings said he accepted the findings of the report.
“(We) will implement all the recommendations — that process has already started,” Mr Jennings said.
As a result of the recommendations, the BSA will employ qualified accountants, publish specific guidelines about how to deal with anonymous grievances, and create written policies guiding how to investigate complaints.
It will make the changes before April 19 next year.
Member for Burnett Mr Messenger said he was disappointed that the investigation was not carried out by CMC staff rather than independent examiner.
“Considering the seriousness of the allegations, the CMC should have used their own investigators,” Mr Messenger said.
“But nonetheless, this is as close to damning as I’ve ever seen from a government report — it has thrown up some serious faults within the system.”
He planned to table the document in Parliament last night.
Minister for Public Works Robert Schwarten denied the report found the BSA was in the wrong.
“The CMC did not make an adverse finding against the BSA and it is wrong to say the BSA is culpable of any misconduct as alleged by Mr Messenger,” Mr Schwarten said.
“In fact, the CMC identified a number of administrative matters which may assist the BSA in dealing with clients.”
The failed company owed more than $1 million to 100 creditors, who are yet to see a cent.
Liquidator SV Partners told the NewsMail last week
Read more ...