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Directors banned in wake of housing-corporation collapse

[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default”][vc_column_text]The Federal Court in Canberra has banned former directors of the Southside Housing Aboriginal Corporation from managing indigenous corporations.

The orders were made in civil penalty proceedings brought by the registrar of indigenous corporations Anthony Beven.

Fred Monaghan and Teresa Monaghan have been banned from managing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations for five years and ordered to pay a pecuniary penalty to the Commonwealth of $38,500 each.

Kim Peters has been banned from managing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations for six months.

Southside Housing was established in 1995 to provide affordable housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Canberra. It owned and managed seven properties funded by the federal government.

The registrar put the corporation into special administration in December 2013 after an examination revealed that most tenants were not paying rent, the corporation had large outstanding debts, two of the corporation’s houses were unfit for human habitation and the others required substantial repairs.

All three former directors were found to have breached their duties by not ensuring that the corporation kept adequate books and records. Mr and Ms Monaghan were also found to have improperly used their positions and failed to exercise due care and diligence in managing the corporation and its houses. Ms Peters was found to have taken several steps and actions to try to address the problems, confronting the corporation.

In his reasons for judgment, Justice Griffiths said: ‘… [These] proceedings vividly highlight the need for there to be appropriate training for people who are directors or officers … none of the [former directors] had the appropriate knowledge, experience or understanding of their roles and responsibilities as directors.’

Mr Beven said: ‘This case highlights the importance of having the right skills on the board of a corporation, particularly when it is managing publicly-funded assets or complex operations.’

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