NBN subcontractor Civcomm enters administration after fraud accusations

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NBN subcontractor Civcomm enters administration after fraud accusations

Telecommunications construction firm QC Communications has wound up a subcontractor following a spat over unpaid invoices.

Sydney NBN subcontractor Civcomm was accused of fraud by a NSW Supreme Court Judge after claiming it was owed close to $150,000 in unpaid invoices for work performed on behalf of QC.

QC stopped paying Civcomm after an audit conducted by NBN Co looking into issues with the contractor's performance. Despite the audit, Civcomm went ahead with commissioning an adjudicator to chase its alleged outstanding payments.

Justice Michael Ball dismissed Civcomm's claims, saying that the adjudicator's document was "procured by fraud" and alleged that Civcomm regularly falsely topped up invoices.

Civcomm was accused of hiding fake charges in its invoices to QC, which said it could not be compelled to pay the false invoices in light of the evidence.

After the court head evidence from workers charged with digging bores to lay cables, Ball said: "Amounts were claimed in the invoices submitted by Civicomm to QC Communications for work done at particular addresses which were not shown on the invoices submitted by the subcontractors for the work that they did at those addresses.”

Civcomm's claim was dismissed, and the company was ordered to pay for the costs of the proceedings. At the time, QC said it would undertake a forensic investigation into Civcomm's invoices and would go after the firm for any money it was owed, if necessary.

Administrators from SV Partners told CRN it was unclear how much Civcomm owed to QC Communication, pending further investigation.

CRN has attempted to contact Civcomm for comment.

Civcomm is just the latest contractor working on the NBN to run into trouble. In August last year, Brisbane's Superior Broadband Services was liquidated due to "cash flow shortages and changes in government policy", with some 32 staff being made redundant.

Last month, labour contracting firm Trilogie Resourcing let 55 staff go after going under. Former NBN contractor Daly International came close to liquidation but was spared after its director agreed to pay creditors with the proceeds of a sale of company assets.

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