Police probe launched after rego money goes missing

ASKING QUESTIONS: Apple Tree Creek man Mike Cleary wants to know what happened to the registration payment he made to the Childers Court House.
ASKING QUESTIONS: Apple Tree Creek man Mike Cleary wants to know what happened to the registration payment he made to the Childers Court House. Carolyn Archer

LIVING on borrowed time after triple bypass surgery, Mike Cleary is under strict medical advice to keep his stress levels to a minimum.

But the Apple Tree Creek pensioner was more than stressed after he was told his 12 month car registration, which he's adamant he paid at the Childers Court House, wasn't received by Queensland Main Roads.

"I always pay 12 months registration and I always pay it as soon as I get the renewal notice," he said.

For more than three months Mr Cleary had been fighting to have his registration reinstated, which it was last Friday, but questions remain about what happened to the money.

Mr Cleary said on March 9 this year he went to the court house and a fill-in female staff member behind the counter assisted him with the registration concession application for pensioners.

Mr Cleary said the discount brought his registration down to $525.10, which he handed over in cash.

"She then took the money, wrote the amount on the rego notice and she also chopped the notice with the court house chop," he said.

"She tore the bottom piece of the notice document off and gave me back the top three quarters."

But just a few weeks later Mr Cleary received an overdue notice in the post, prompting him to return to the Childers Court House and attempt to sort out what was going on.

Mr Cleary said he was told the payment had not been recorded and the money couldn't be found.

What ensued was three months of phone calls, letters and emails.

Despite sending the registration notice with the court house stamp to TMR, they advised Mr Cleary the department was unable to assist and any matters regarding the Childers Court House fell under the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice and Attorney-General.

Finally Mr Cleary said he had no option but to take the matter to police.

"I had the rego papers in the car but I have to go into Bundaberg for hospital appointments and I didn't like driving in with just the papers. I didn't know what would happen if I got picked up by police," he said.

Mr Cleary said the situation was impacting his health and he was becoming highly stressed at the thought of having to repay the registration and get a roadworthy certificate after the non-registration period went past three months.

"It's affecting my health. I've got 40% lung capacity and my doctors tell me not to get stressed," he said.

However on Friday Mr Cleary was advised TMR had reviewed the matter and his registration had been reinstated for the 12 month period.

Childers police have confirmed they are investigating the matter.

"I'd like to know what happened," Mr Cleary said.

The NewsMail asked the Department of Justice and Attorney-General if they could provide an explanation for what happened to the cash or if the matter was being investigated internally.

In a statement provided a spokesman said it would be inappropriate to comment on the specific circumstances of this matter pending the outcome of the police investigation.

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