The Herald reports:
A bankrupt business trainer whose mentoring companies are in liquidation has been revealed as a taxpayer-funded envoy hired to teach fledgling Tongan firms the secret of success.
Auckland’s Richard Peter Gee, 64, was in Tonga last week on his third mentoring session since being made bankrupt in the High Court at Auckland. Herald inquiries have found Mr Gee received $29,000 for the mentoring courses in Tonga – part of an aid package for the Pacific nation funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
A spokeswoman for Mfat – which runs the aid scheme – said it had no idea Mr Gee had been bankrupted during a period he was carrying out business mentoring courses.
She said the money was paid to the Tonga Chamber of Commerce as part of a larger aid package and the organisation then handled contracting itself. She said Mfat believed $29,000 had been paid to Geewiz Group Professional Speakers Ltd which provided “six courses of up to five days in length” between 2013 and 2015.
“The ministry takes the delivery of its business development programmes very seriously. We have high expectations of the procurement standards and contractual arrangements set by our aid partners, and expect action to be taken in the event of any potential breach.”
The fault appears to be with the Tongan Chamber of Commerce, but it is still our money being wasted.
Mr Gee was made bankrupt in August last year. The bankruptcy followed the liquidations of two mentoring businesses and a High Court case critical of how Mr Gee met his legal obligations as a company director. In the case, Justice Brendan Brown found it had been “irresponsible” for Mr Gee to continue to trade as Richard Geewiz Gee Consultants Ltd when he had not worked out how to pay outstanding taxes.
Mr Gee’s former accountant Tim Livingstone told the court the company operated by Mr Gee was insolvent the entire time it was in operation. He had written to Mr Gee each year advising him of this.
Mr Gee was ordered to pay $85,000 in the wake of the company liquidation. It was separately found the successor company, Geewiz Ltd, also went into liquidation in 2011 and was found to be owing $70,000.
I think most people would agree that someone whose business mentoring business has gone bankrupt, is probably a very bad choice to be a business mentor.
However we are the country where the host of The Apprentice went bankrupt, so maybe it is following in those foot steps!