Special report by Rashneel Kumar and Bevan Hurley.
The founder of a deeply indebted local building firm has been charged with importing methamphetamine into New Zealand.
Sam Capper, 28, who formed CM Contracting Ltd with his former partner Teau McKenzie, was arrested this week.
Until recently, Capper lived in Rarotonga. He fled to New Zealand as clients here complained of unfinished houses and substandard work.
Yesterday McKenzie spoke out for the first time since Cook Islands News revealed the struggling families left out of pocket by the company.
She felt nothing for her former boyfriend – it was Capper’s drug issues that led to their breakup, she said.
“Those who know me know that I do not use drugs and that I have no sympathy for those who do.
“Most people who know of Sam Capper’s drug issues also know that was what led to our breakup. I want nothing to do with that world.
“Sam has managed to damage many lives, my own included, so I find it hard to find sympathy for him over this.”
Capper was charged with importation and possession of methamphetamine for supply, a New Zealand police spokesperson said. He has appeared in the Pukekohe District Court and been remanded in custody.
CM Contracting Ltd came under the spotlight for failing to honour its arrangement with Cook Islands clients including 93-year-old Emerar Crummer and her daughter Jacki Brown.
They were building their dream home so they could return home to live in Rarotonga – but builders downed tools after CM Contracting defaulted on the money it owed them. The mother and daughter were forced to pay another $162,000 to complete the job.
CM Contracting was taken to the High Court last month, where its lawyer admitted it owed $123,112 to some other clients, Ngatupuna Siliar and Eleanor Opai, but was “hopelessly insolvent” and unable to pay.
The company has retained a lawyer and specialist accountant to find out how much it owes, and what assets it has left to help cover its debts.
Its sister company CM Contracting Ltd NZ, a registered New Zealand company, also owes money to a list of banks and finance companies.
Teau McKenzie said she was trying her best to pay off the debts, especially to their affected clients.
“I am sure many of those who have lost money through dealing with CM will feel more strongly still. For now my sympathy is with those people, not Sam, as I try to see how I can help put things right for them.”
Prior to his arrest, Capper complained he had been unfairly treated by the media, and that he was “silently working on a solution”.
A police spokesperson confirmed Capper’s arrest. “A 28-year-old male has been charged in relation to the importation of methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine for supply.
“Police are unable to comment further while this matter is before the court.”
Capper is due to appear via videolink in the Pukekohe District Court next week.
Methamphetamine is a Class A drug under New Zealand’s Misuse of Drugs Act, so importing, and possession for supply carry maximum sentences of life imprisonment.