Creditor told no money left over

Last updated 13:00 25/09/2012

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Nelson liquidator Pat Norris told a creditor of a liquidation he was handling that after he had paid his fees and a big IRD bill there would be no money left over for other creditors, a court has heard.

Maureen Manley, of Upper Moutere, said she and her husband had a claim for $27,800 in relation to the liquidation of the Auckland company Astra Enterprises.

Norris took over as liquidator of Astra Enterprises in August 2009.

Mrs Manley said she and her husband had several phone calls with Norris to find out how the liquidation was going and found it hard to get information from him.

She was aware that Astra had an asset of $80,960.

Norris told her that only $60,000 had been transferred to him; the IRD was owed a huge bill and after he had claimed his fees there would be no money left over, she said.

Norris, 55, has denied a charge of theft in a special relationship.

He is defending himself in a judge-alone trial in Nelson District Court.

The Crown alleges he stole the $80,000 that was deposited into his company's Norris Management Services bank account for the liquidation of Astra Enterprises.

The Crown says there was no evidence of any creditors being paid and Norris spent the money on the running of his business.

Norris says the money went on liquidation fees.

Mrs Manley said she and her husband had lent $27,800 to her son's former longtime partner.

The money was deposited into a trust and then transferred to Astra Enterprises.

Under cross-examination she admitted there was little documentation about that transfer, but said she remembered seeing a bank account which showed the transfer. She believed that document was given to the first liquidator, Christine Johnston, who handed the liquidation to Norris.

Yesterday Companies Office solicitor Sarah Burnett gave evidence about the process the office went through to give authority for the Companies Office to disclose information to police.

She said Ian Ramsay and John McPherson were appointed as inspectors by the Registrars of Companies to investigate the handling of Astra Enterprises' liquidation in March last year.

They were appointed by the deputy registrar under delegation from the registrar.

Ms Burnett said the inspectors were given prior permission by the deputy registrar that if they found any evidence of criminal activity they could pass that information on to police.

Norris asked Ms Burnett if the investigation was pre-determined and the Companies Office wanted to prosecute him.

"It was just grab any information and go straight to police," Norris said.

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Ms Burnett said that was not the case.

Norris said the Companies Office was trying to make a case as another court case against him taken by the Official Assignee "was in decline".

Ms Burnett said that was not the case.

The trial continues today.

- Nelson

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