Car buyers appear unlikely to face charges as a police investigation into the Dunedin City Council's alleged $1.5 million Citifleet fraud draws to a close.
The Otago Daily Times understands police have all but concluded their investigation into the council's alleged vehicle fraud, and will present their findings to council staff within days.
Police were not prepared to reveal their hand yesterday but the ODT has been told buyers of the 152 cars are unlikely to be charged.
That includes a man who, together with members of his family, was said to have bought and on-sold up to 25 cars from a former Citifleet manager.
The man told police he believed the manager was entitled to dispose of the vehicles, the ODT understands. The man declined to comment when contacted yesterday.
Council chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose would not be drawn on details of the investigation ahead of an upcoming "final meeting" with police.
Cupid Shop owner Carl Lapham, who outed himself in September as the buyer of two former Citifleet vehicles, said yesterday he had been given an assurance by police investigating the alleged fraud.
"There's no more being done by the police, because we did it in good faith and they couldn't get a prosecution," he said.
The council earlier ruled out seeking to recoup vehicles or money from individual buyers, citing legal advice, and instead accepted a $750,000 partial payment from insurer QBE earlier this month.
That meant responsibility for chasing money from the vehicles' new owners passed to QBE, which was yet to decide whether it would pursue owners, a spokeswoman said earlier this month.
Mr Lapham said he also doubted QBE would contact him, or other individual buyers, for the same reasons police had opted against a prosecution.
"What I did was in good faith. I was told a price. I paid it. End of story."
The police investigation was launched in August, after a three-month Deloitte investigation found evidence of a decade-long fraud within the council's vehicle fleet.
The alleged fraud involved the sale of 152 vehicles, and the pocketing of more than $1.5 million in proceeds, although there were suggestions it went back much further.
The ODT understands the findings of the police investigation could be presented to council staff as early as tomorrow, with a final report to follow as early as next week.
A police spokeswoman, contacted late yesterday, said any comment would be made once the investigation was concluded.