Small-capacity motorcycle wholesale business Braaap Wholesale has gone into liquidation and two executives face penalties over breaching import regulations.
Braaap Wholesale is the wholesale arm of Braaap Motorcycles which is still operating.
Founder Brad Smith and general manager Toby Wilkins pleaded guilty in Launceston Magistrate Court this week to six counts of approval for the placement of identification plates and three counts of importation of vehicles requiring modification.
It stems from the import of 82 motorcycles from China in 2016 which were fitted with plates and sold to a NSW company for about $1 million before they had complied with the Australian Standards.
An audit of Braaap’s Victorian and Tasmanian warehouses also found bikes fitted with parts not specified on the Identification Plate Approval, including having different head lamps, direction indicators, and back and rear break pads.
Braaap’s defence lawyer told court that although the equipment didn’t comply with the Identification Plate Approval (IPA), it complied with Australian Design Rules.
Magistrate Ken Stanton will hand down his sentence on March 19.
Toby says he would “prefer not to add personal comment while it’s still before the courts”.
“I can say though – Braaap has the upmost respect for DIRD (the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities) and the Motor Vehicles Act and have worked tirelessly with the department over the past few years to ensure compliance is met and exceeded,” he says.
“It’s also important for people to be aware that there was no risk to public safety with any of the issues identified.
“The issues before the court were issues that were identified prior to vehicles being released to market and once all relevant checks had been performed the vehicles and parts in question were found to be in accordance with the ADRs and passed.”
Toby points out that the entity tied to this issue is not Braaap Motorcycles, but Braaap Wholesale which has been a non-trading entity for some time and went into liquidation in August 2018.
“I’m still with Braaap and we are forging forward,” he says.
“Braaap Wholesale was the wholesale arm of the company that dealt with IPAs and dealers etc.
“Due to the past few years it’s paid its toll on this entity. We are working with the administrators though and plan to pull it back out of liquidation.
“Braaap is still trading and Braaap Frankston is still open, Braaap Vietnam has also been launched and they will have bikes shortly (just finishing off emissions testing).
In 2005, at the age of 17, Brad sourced factories in China to make bikes to his specifications.
He was named 2008 Australian Young Entrepreneur of the Year and Tasmania’s Young Australian of the Year in 2010 while the company won the Australian Retailers Association’s Small Business of the Year four times.
In 2017, Braaap released a range of new models and in 2018 introduced the electric MotoE electric motorcycle.