Northstar has been fined $12,000 after an investigation into the use of false billing and fraud allegations.
Key points:An investigation by the Federal Court found that Northstar used false billing claims for services from an industrial roofer and residential roofing contractor to help cover its lossesIn October last year, the Federal Government launched an investigation and fined Northstar $12.6 million for failing to act on the false claimsThe court found that the company had not acted to correct the problems, including the use by some of the contractors of the same false billing claim, the Australian Financial Journal reported.
Northstar’s chief executive, Paul Brouwer, told the Federal Parliament in October that the actions of its suppliers had led to a significant number of claims being made and that “it is now a case of whether or not the supplier has a responsibility for the false charges.”
The investigation found that a number of the suppliers had also used the same claim for roofing at the same time.
It found that when Northstar’s roofing contractors asked the contractors for their roofing and installation services, they were not aware that their services were being billed by the same company.
The company said it was working to rectify the matter.
“The company is committed to improving the accuracy and timeliness of all our billing processes and is working to improve the system to better support the compliance and accuracy of all payments,” Mr Brouder said.
“As a result of the ongoing investigation, the company has taken action to ensure that its roofing suppliers are not being charged for the same services that they provide to its clients.”
The company also said it had been in regular contact with the Federal Department of Industry and Innovation (DFII) and had worked with the department to improve its systems.
“While there is no doubt that this has been a difficult time for all parties involved, we are confident that we have dealt with this issue with the utmost sensitivity and professionalism,” Mr O’Shea said in a statement.
“We have a very robust compliance and compliance audit program to ensure we are taking reasonable and appropriate action to correct this matter and ensure we provide a high level of customer service.”
Mr Brouwers response to the inquiry said the company was committed to its customers, which included its customers in Australia and overseas, and “will not be deterred by this investigation”.
“The conduct that has been found to have occurred by the DFII is an offence under Australian Consumer Law, which is why the company is confident it will be successfully prosecuted,” Mr Wigglesworth said.
The investigation has been adjourned until January 2019.