Barengi Gadjin Land Council issues settled

THE Barengi Gadjin Land Council has resolved its issues with the Department of Justice, following an investigation last year.

The Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations released findings on an examination of the land council in December.

The registrar suspected financial and other irregularities in the corporation’s affairs.

It was alleged former chief executive Jim Golden-Brown misused $800,000 in grant funding.

The registrar warned the corporation could become insolvent if the Department of Justice took action to recover the money.

The corporation had until January 17 to fix the suspected instances of non-compliance with its rule book.

The corporation also had to have its financial accounts for the 2013-14 financial year up-to-date by January 31.

Barengi Gadjin Land Council executive officer Michael Stewart said he received confirmation from the registrar this week that all issues had been resolved.

“Before the audit last year, we had a financial review, which involved a strategic review of operations needed to be taken by the board to bring the corporation spending back in line with the funding we received,” he said.

“Then we had the audit and the outcome was the report to the registrar’s office.

“The board has been working hard to meet all requirements and provide all relevant information to the registrar.”

Mr Stewart said there were several actions that needed to be addressed.

“Actions taken by the board were mainly administration tasks, largely around processes and making sure we complied with all legislation and rule book requirements,” he said.

The corporation had to establish and maintain a register of members and former members, ensure that resolutions passed by the directors were recorded in the minutes of the directors’ meetings, have an annual meeting by November 30 each year and record the minutes of the meeting and table up-to-date financial reports at every directors’ meeting.

To rectify the suspected financial irregularities the corporation had to show official receipts for all monies received by the corporation, documentation for all payments made by the corporation and ensure all payments were properly authorised and approved by the directors.

Mr Stewart said all grant funding was accounted for and did not need to be recovered.

He said the corporation could now move forward.

“Now the administration burden has been greatly reduced, we can get back to focusing on rebuilding the organisation and concentrating on all the issues that are important to the native title holders and members,” he said.

He said plans for a cultural centre had previously been delayed and would now be revisited.

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