17 Feb 2014

E-Gas pair accused of fraud

9:47 pm on 17 February 2014

Two men whose company profited by under-reporting the amount of gas its customers were supplied have gone on trial in the Wellington District Court.

Ronald Rosenberg, 72, was the managing director and chief executive of several companies including E-Gas Limited. Sydney Hunt was the general manager of E-Gas.

The charges against the men have been brought by the Serious Fraud Office, which says the false billing figures reported to gas suppliers gave the company a monetary advantage of $17 million.

The SFO has charged Mr Rosenberg ad Mr Hunt with 41 counts of dishonestly using a document.

John Upton, QC, is representing the SFO and said spreadsheets showed the amount of gas billed to E-Gas customers, but returns sent to the gas wholesaler showed lower usage.

Mr Upton said that had a positive impact on E-Gas by allowing it to receive free gas by avoiding paying the wholesaler for the whole amount of gas used.

The alleged subterfuge allowed the company to avoid various fees and distribution charges.

Eleven witnesses will give evidence for the Crown, including a former employee of E-Gas. The trial is expected to run for a month.