Woman charged over EQC car misuse

Last updated 09:10 03/06/2014
EQC cars
Dean Kozanic/Fairfax NZ

FREE RIDE: EQC cars parked at home base in Addington. A number of the company's vehicles have allegedly been misused.

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A 24-year-old Christchurch woman has been arrested over the alleged misuse of EQC vehicles.

While working for the Earthquake Commission (EQC), the woman allegedly borrowed staff vehicles for unauthorised personal use and was caught out after one was left abandoned on the roadside when it broke down.

She has been charged with unlawful conversion of a motor vehicle, obtaining by deception and using a document, and will appear in the Christchurch District Court on Friday.

The Press revealed on May 28 that the staff member, who no longer works for EQC, reportedly used three vehicles for personal use for "several weeks" before the breach was discovered in April.

A spokesman said the misuse happened at a time when the commission was changing lease arrangements for a number of vehicles and getting others warranted.

"Following inquiries made by EQC, it was found another two vehicles had been used without authorisation by the same staff member."

The misuse was uncovered when one of the vehicles was spotted on the roadside, having been left there unreported after a mechanical failure.

Two of the vehicles were "out of circulation" because they were being returned to the leasing company and the third was a pool car, which could be used by staff for transport for business purposes.

"That's why it wasn't picked up as early as it could have [been]. When one [missing vehicle] was noticed, [we] did an investigation and found there were two others being misused, and it went from there," the spokesman said.

The matter was then put in the hands of police.

EQC procedures for vehicle use were being reviewed.

The commission has up to 15 pool cars as well as others assigned to staff and contractors.

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