A provisional chartered accountant declared bankrupt will be discharged without conviction on charges of failing to comply with obligations under the law if he can pay costs of $2500.
Michiel David Bezuidenhoudt appeared for sentencing in the Whangārei District Court yesterday after he was last month found guilty by a jury of breaching the Insolvency Act.
The 62-year-old did not file a statement of affairs spelling out what he owned and declaring any income of more than $500 he earned, among other things.
As an undischarged bankrupt, he took part in the management of a business between July 2017 and July 2019 without reasonable excuse.
The issue was about Bezuidenhoudt's non-notification to the Official Assignee of him providing accounting services as part of his obligations under the Act.
Bezuidenhoudt was only a provisional member of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA) when he held himself out to be a fully qualified member, specialising in areas such as auditing.
In 2013, he was suspended for two years and ordered to pay $8000 after he was found to have misled the public by claiming to be a chartered accountant on his website.
He was adjudicated bankrupt in the High Court in Whangarei in February 2016, based on an outstanding debt of about $20,000.
During sentencing, court-appointed lawyer John Moroney asked for a discharge without conviction because Bezuidenhoudt did not have a previous conviction, and was an intelligent man with a number of professional qualifications.
He was currently working as a bus driver but intended to return to his former profession at the end of his bankruptcy, he submitted.
Moroney said a conviction may impede Bezuidenhoudt's chances of practising as an accountant in future.
The debt on which Bezuidenhoudt was bankrupted didn't exist and that there was a reasonable excuse as to why he did not file a statement of affairs, he said.
Judge Duncan Harvey said Bezuidenhoudt could not continue to dispute the fine or his bankruptcy as all the legal processes have been followed.
As a result of Bezuidenhoudt's actions, he said a huge amount of money has been expended by both the Official Assignee and the Ministry of Justice.
Judge Harvey said if Bezuidenhoudt could pay costs of $2500, he would be discharged without conviction.
The sentencing was adjourned to April 23 after Bezuidenhoudt said he could pay the amount in 10 weeks.