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Ab corp chief banned, fined for corruption

Tony Barrass -

A former chief executive officer of Murchison Region Aboriginal Corporation has been disqualified from managing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations for seven years and ordered to pay a penalty of $250,000, according to the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, or ORIC.

The orders against Ashley Taylor were made in the Federal Court in Perth this month and followed proceedings begun by ORIC in June last year.

As well as the disqualification, Mr Taylor was ordered to pay compensation of $182,527 to MRAC, a penalty of $250,000 to the Commonwealth and the Registrar’s costs of the proceedings.

MRAC is a charitable corporation registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act). It provides affordable housing to Aboriginal people in the Murchison and Gascoyne regions of Western Australia.

Mr Taylor’s conduct during his time as CEO of MRAC — from July 2010 to November 2014 — was the subject of investigations by ORIC after a special administrator was appointed to the corporation in 2014.

It was alleged that despite knowing funding to the corporation from the WA Department of Housing was about to stop, Mr Taylor arranged unsecured and interest-free ‘staff loans’ for himself and another officer that resulted in serious cash flow issues for MRAC.

During the time he was CEO, Mr Taylor received 107 separate payments totaling $211,612.41. The payments were not approved by directors or members.

The Court found Mr Taylor failed in his duties as an officer of the corporation.

Mr Taylor was also found to have improperly used his position to gain an advantage for himself and someone else, causing detriment to the corporation.

Wendy Caccetta

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