Convicted fraudster Michael Andrew Swann, who together with his convicted accomplice Kerry Gray Harford, defrauded the Otago District Health Board of $16.9 Million over six years (2000-2006), ran Computer South Ltd as his personal de facto bank account for the laundering of money obtained by fraud from the DHB, despite the fact he held no office in the company and held no shares. (As a convicted bankrupt he was unable to hold shares in or direct any company).
Mr Swann’s close friend Peter Bruce Bruce Ibbotson, a plumber of Warrington, was put in place as director when the company was incorporated in 1997. In the Dunedin High Court where Swann faced charges for fraud, Ibbotson admitted that he had had almost no involvement (2000-2006) in any management of governance aspect of Computer South Ltd, a company which the Serious Fraud Office reported owned no assets, employed no staff, filed no tax returns, and was controlled by Swann rather than listed “director” Peter Ibbotson.
A Notice of intention to remove Computer South Ltd from the Register of Companies under section 318(1)(b) of the Companies Act 1993, was issued by Mr Neville Harris, the Registrar, on 25 November 2010. The Notice states:
“I am satisfied that these companies have ceased to carry on business and there is no other reason for these companies to continue in existence or that no liquidator is acting.
“Unless, under section 321 of the Companies Act 1993, written objection to removal of any of the above-named companies is delivered to the Registrar by 23 December 2010, being not less than 20 working days from the date of this notice, the Registrar is required to remove the companies from the Register.”
Computer South director and currently its sole shareholder, Peter Ibbotson, failed to file the company’s Annual Return due by April 2010 – hence the Notice of intended removal.
Over almost six years while Swann and Harford defrauded the ODHB of $16.9 Million, Computer South Ltd 100 shares were held by Anna Laura Devereux (Swann’s former wife) – 34 shares, Iain Grant Fyfe, solicitor of Checketts McKay (Wanaka) – 33 shares – and Ian Ibbotson – 33 shares.
Fyfe acted throughout this six year period as solicitor for Swann, setting up trusts so that much of the laundered money could be put into Central Otago propeties, a deliberate attempt by Swann to have no assets held in his name.
About two weeks before the ODHB announced that Swann had been suspended for his job at the DHB for suspected gross mismanagement of finances and suspected fraud, all of Swann’s ex-wife’s shares were transfered to Fyfe and Innotson (50:50). Then about a week later and brefore the ODHB inquiry was announced, Fyfe, who as well as having been a major shareholder, transferred all his shares to Ibbotson.
Iain Grant Fyfe, a foundation shareholder and long-term solicitor for Computer South Ltd from 1997 until present day, may be able to “assist authorities” in locating $6 million dollars of assets purchased by the proceeds of Swann’s crimes, which have yet to be located.
Swann, who is still in prison for the crimes, has been totally uncooperative with authorities who have been seeking to retrieve his assets for several years.
Harford ,who was released this year from prison for his part in the fraud, has made a commendable effort according to the Court to make reparation to the DHB. However, he was disqualified from being a company director effective 11 March 2009 until 11 march 2014.