Farmer putting heat on bankers

The Weekend Post - - News -

JULIAN TOM­LIN­SON

But de­spite Mr Sci­acca main­tain­ing he was meet­ing in­ter­est pay­ments, Per­ma­nent Cus­to­di­ans ap­pointed re­ceivers PPB Ad­vi­sory in De­cem­ber 2008, just prior to har­vest.

Mr Sci­acca had a stroke in 2006 and was con­fined to a wheel­chair but still lent his ex­per­tise to run­ning Aussea.

He is adamant the farm could have stayed open but for the man­age­ment de­ci­sions of PPB Ad­vi­sory that re­sulted in mil­lions of dol­lars worth of prawns dy­ing and the farm be­ing sold in 2010 for a price not high enough to cover the out­stand­ing debts of $1.8 mil­lion. PPB de­nies these claims.

The Cairns Post has seen a statu­tory dec­la­ra­tion from for­mer farm em­ployee Peter Ganya stat­ing PPB ig­nored ad­vice and failed to re­place mildewy prawn food, caus­ing an es­ti­mated $2.4 mil­lion worth of prawns to die or be­come sick.

“PPB were ab­so­lute cow­boys,” said Mr Sci­acca. “$1.8 mil­lion (of debt) was about 28 per cent of the to­tal value of the busi­ness; we had $2.4 mil­lion worth of prawns and they all died or got sick and the farm was sold for a pit­tance.

“How come a busi­ness worth $6.5 mil­lion could sell for only $1.55 mil­lion? That is proof of how much PPB ran the place into the ground.

“My life has been ru­ined be­cause the banks moved in pre­ma­turely and for no rea­son.

“There are plenty of other peo­ple in the same sit­u­a­tion, and that’s why there needs to be a royal com­mis­sion.”

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