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21 November 2013

One of South Australia’s dodgiest traders has been dealt with by the Courts twice in the last week for his unlawful conduct resulting in record high penalties for Consumer and Business Services (CBS).

This week, Mr Ali Faraj, formerly known as Kamel Kassem and Kamel Mousselmani, pleaded guilty to carrying on business as a second-hand vehicle dealer without a licence.

Commissioner for Consumer Affairs, Paul White, said his unscrupulous behaviour was an intentional violation of the Second-hand Vehicle Dealers Act 1995.

“Between July 2011 and December 2012 Mr Faraj traded a number of vehicles without a licence as required by the law,” the Commissioner said.

“On Monday, he was convicted and was fined $33,000 plus court costs and the victims of crime levy. This is the largest penalty that has been handed down under the Second-hand Vehicle Dealers Act 1995 since the legislation was amended in November 2010 to increase consumer protection.

“In September 2012 Mr Faraj was convicted of 11 offences under the Building Work Contractors Act 1995 including performing unlicensed, unfinished and shoddy building work. He was ordered to pay $57,000 in fines and also to pay $60,000 compensation to his victims, plus court costs and the victims of crime levy.

“To date, this was the highest penalty imposed in criminal proceedings brought by CBS under that Act.”

To further protect the public, CBS also brought disciplinary proceedings against Mr Faraj in the District Court. The grounds included the previous unlicensed building work and two instances of advertising his building work services despite being unlicensed.

“Mr Faraj continued to advertise his building services in the Messenger Press despite his prior convictions for unlawful conduct in the building industry,” Mr White said.

“Last week the District Court found that there was proper cause for taking disciplinary action against Mr Faraj and that it was manifestly in the public interest that Mr Faraj be banned immediately from working in the South Australian building industry until further order.

“Specifically, Mr Faraj has been disqualified from being licensed or registered under the Building Work Contractors Act 1995, prohibited from being employed or otherwise engaged in the business of a building work contractor, and prohibited from being a director of a building company, until further order.

“Mr Faraj has a substantial history of dishonesty offences and CBS have made every endeavour to ensure that he is no longer a threat to South Australian consumers.”

CBS urges consumers who engage with any trader to check they are licensed at the Public Licensing Register on www.cbs.sa.gov.au