Citifleet fraud case ends with payout

The saga of the Dunedin City Council's Citifleet fraud is finally over.

The council yesterday confirmed a confidential settlement - believed to involve a six-figure sum - had been reached with representatives of Brent Bachop's estate.

Mr Bachop was the Citifleet team leader.

He died shortly after being approached about irregularities within his department in May 2014.

An investigation later placed him at the centre of a $1.5million fraud involving the sale of 152 council vehicles, and the pocketing of proceeds, over more than a decade.

In December last year, the Otago Daily Times reported that the council was seeking $1,250,780 in damages, interest and other costs from Mr Bachop's estate.

The action, while in the council's name, was taken on behalf of its insurer, QBE, which had already made a full and final payment to cover the council's loss.

The settlement reached involved Mr Bachop's widow, Maria Smith, who was the executor of his estate, the ODT understands.

In a statement yesterday afternoon, council group chief financial officer Grant McKenzie, said "all outstanding matters between the parties have been resolved and settled under a confidential settlement''.

Contacted late yesterday, he confirmed a financial settlement had been agreed to but declined to divulge the sum involved.

"It's confidential.''

The money would go to QBE, not the council but it was pleasing to see an agreement that put an end to the long-running affair, Mr McKenzie said.

"I'm happy that we've got finalisation to a very difficult time for council, and all parties involved.''

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull was reluctant to comment but said the resolution, after two years of upheaval, was a "good thing''.

"It was a tragedy from day one, in a number of ways, and I'm just pleased it's been resolved.'

QBE staff declined to comment when contacted yesterday.

chris.morris@odt.co.nz

 

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