Hamish Fletcher

Hamish Fletcher is a business reporter for the NZ Herald

Accountants discipline bankrupt finance man

The NZ Institute of Chartered Accountants brought disciplinary proceedings against a jailed, bankrupt finance company director - who is no longer a member of the professional body. Photo / Thinkstock
The NZ Institute of Chartered Accountants brought disciplinary proceedings against a jailed, bankrupt finance company director - who is no longer a member of the professional body. Photo / Thinkstock

The New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants brought disciplinary proceedings against a jailed and bankrupt finance company director - even though the man is no longer a member of the professional body.

Rockforte Finance failed in 2010 and 77 mum-and-dad investors were reimbursed $3.8 million by the Crown Retail Deposit Scheme.

The Serious Fraud Office, which laid charges against three Rockforte directors, said false reporting led to the finance company's acceptance into the scheme.

The SFO also said a significant portion of Rockforte investors' money was used as a source of funding for the directors' personal business interests in two companies - Gisborne Haulage and Michael Ward 1969, which operated the Jean Jones clothing label throughout New Zealand.

One of the directors, Nigel Brent O'Leary, admitted nine charges including theft by person in special relationship, obtaining by deception, false statement by promoter and false accounting.

He was sentenced to four years in prison in the Gisborne High Court last October.

While O'Leary is no longer a member of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA), the organisation's disciplinary tribunal still met to consider whether the man's convictions reflected on his fitness to practise accountancy and whether they tended to bring the profession into disrepute.

Although O'Leary was no longer a member, NZICA's rules say they still have the jurisdiction to deal with him because he was a member at the time of his offending.

O'Leary was not representing at a hearing earlier this month but pleaded guilty by correspondence.

The tribunal's decision, released publicly on Thursday, said O'Leary's conduct tended to bring the profession into disrepute and reflected on his fitness to practise.

"Membership of the Institute is incompatible with this deceitful and dishonest conduct," tribunal chairman Jim Hoare said.

"The Disciplinary Tribunal finds that if he had still been a member his name would have been removed from the Institute's register of members for these offences," Hoare said.

NZICA is seeking full costs of $4,469 from O'Leary for the hearing and its investigations.

It ordered him to pay this amount even though he is bankrupt.

Read the full NZICA decision here:

- NZ Herald

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