Evidence vital in drainage cases

JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 05:00 29/05/2014
Graham Daniel Lilley
FACING CHARGES: Graham Daniel Lilley.

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Christchurch Earthquake 2011

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Christchurch homeowners who fell foul of Alligator Drainage Ltd may have some relief in sight.

The Earthquake Commission (EQC) is reimbursing homeowners for work done by the company that it deems legitimate.

However, it appears only those given video footage or photos of earthquake damage before their drains were repaired can be considered.

The move comes after police charged the company's director, Graham Daniel Lilley, 35, with 16 counts of fraud over bills charged to homeowners for drain repair work.

Six of the charges were jointly laid against the company's former chief executive, Kevin John Davies. The company allegedly told customers, who were often elderly, that EQC would reimburse them for work done without prior authorisation.

EQC said it was reviewing work completed by Alligator Drainage on the properties of 19 Christchurch homeowners.

"Where earthquake damage is identified we will reimburse the customer for appropriate repair costs," EQC Canterbury Home Repair Programme manager Reid Stiven said.

North New Brighton woman Val Branson, 73, was reimbursed $4700 about a month ago.

Other alleged victims were still waiting.

Branson said the payout was "better than nothing", but she remained more than $10,000 out of pocket.

An EQC staffer told her she was "lucky because Lilley did give me the CD of the video of my drain. Others have no proof at all".

"I feel sorry for those people who won't get any money back from EQC," she said.

Branson's driveway was still ripped up after the October 2013 work by the company.

"I'm still disappointed. I keep kicking myself every day. He [Lilley] was so nice and seemed to care about me and the job that needed to be done."

EQC could only cover damage caused as a direct result of the earthquake, Stiven said.

Police allege the 16 victims lost between $1000 and $20,000 each between August and October 2013. The amounts totalled $168,349.

Alligator Drainage was placed in receivership in January. Waterstone Insolvency was appointed liquidator in March.

Unsecured creditors have so far lodged debts totalling $478,000.

Lilley will next appear in the Christchurch District Court on June 18.

Davies will next appear in the Auckland District Court on June 17.

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- The Press

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