The Supreme Court of South Australia has decided to suspend Peter Ivan Macks’ liquidator registration for a period of three years, commencing once Justice Jeremy Doyle hands down final orders.
The penalty decision comes after the court found that in 2010, Mr Macks had fabricated documentation by placing on them the initials of other persons working at his firm in order to deceive ASIC during its investigation into his conduct as liquidator of Bernsteen Pty Ltd and Newmore Pty Ltd.
Mr Macks did so to create the false impression that he had justified the commencement and continuation of legal proceedings against a third party that owed money to Bernsteen, and that others at his firm concurred with his view.
ASIC alleges that Mr Macks incurred approximately $150,000 in legal fees by continuing litigation on behalf of Bernsteen in order to recover a debt of less than $28,000, despite advice from his lawyers to discontinue the litigation.
At the time he fabricated the documents, Mr Macks was a principal at PPB Advisory. He now practices in Macks Advisory in Adelaide.
“The position of liquidator is a repository of public trust; the public is entitled to trust a liquidator to perform their functions to a high standard and with scrupulous attention to obligations of candour, honesty and integrity,” Justice Doyle said in his judgment.
“When a liquidator falls short of the standards expected of them, the public’s trust in the office of liquidator is eroded.
“That in turn has a corrosive effect on the administration of the body of insolvency law, and consequently on the administration of justice.”
Justice Doyle has made orders for the removal of Mr Macks from all current appointments as liquidator or receiver and manager, and that Mr Macks be restrained from accepting any kind of corporate insolvency appointment during his suspension period.
He has also been ordered to pay 50 per cent of ASIC’s costs of the proceedings.
Ian Burford of Macks Advisory will become the sole appointee for all companies where Mr Macks was removed.
Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.