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SFO investigating as old TVs gather dust

The Serious Fraud Office is investigating one of the companies awarded a multi-million dollar Government contract to recycle old televisions.

The Serious Fraud Office is investigating a company awarded a multi-million dollar Government contract. Source: 1 NEWS

Auckland based RCN E-Waste has gone into liquidation and tens of thousands of sets have been left gathering dust.

The company was awarded a contract to recycle old TVs containing toxic metals under the TV take back scheme. It was paid $4.5 million but the Government says it failed to deliver.

A report from its liquidators shows it owes $1.5 million, plus a number of other "unknown"s.

More than 130 people, businesses and councils are owed money including KiwiRail and Gisborne District Council. And about 50 people are believed to have lost their jobs while 90,000 old television sets are left lying around.

The not for profit Community Recycling Network says its centres are owed about $65,000.

ONE News can reveal the Serious Fraud Office is investigating "RCN-related companies".

Environment Minister Amy Adams says the Government was asked for an advanced payment and at that stage it sought an independent audit which "showed some irregularities that were of considerable concern".

"We're in the same position as those other groups who feel like they've missed out," Ms Adams says.

The sole director of RCN E-Waste, Joe Capizzi, says he welcomes the SFO inquiry and is "assisting it in every way he can''. He says he "hopes it will shed some light on why the company collapsed under the weight of the TV takeback contract partnership with the ministry..."

The Government says it will award a new contract to complete the recycling work but it won't give any guarantees to creditors left out of pocket.