Former native title chief must repay Githabul

A former director of Githabul Nation Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC has been convicted of three charges of dishonestly misusing his position to gain a personal advantage, according to the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations.

Trevor John Close was convicted in the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney on May 17 after pleading guilty to the charges in February.

Magistrate Susan Horan convicted and discharged Close on a $500 12-month good behaviour bond.

Close was ordered to repay $7279.25 to the Githabul Nation.

The charges were brought by the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, Anthony Beven, in June last year under section 265-25(3)(a) of the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006.

In 2013, Close used the proceeds of sale of a property owned by the Githabul Nation to make three rental payments totalling $7279.25 on his private home in Sydney.

“Native title corporations and their directors are in a very special position of trust in relation to traditional owners — past, current and future,” Mr Beven said.

“It is not acceptable for a director to use native title funds or property for their own personal benefit.

“Directors of corporations, especially those looking after native title, must uphold the highest of standards and always act in the best interests of the corporation and its members.”

On November 29, 2007 the Federal Court made a consent determination recognising the Githabul people’s native title rights and interests over 1120 sq km of national parks and state forests around Kyogle in northern New South Wales.

Githabul Nation was also recognised by the court as the body to represent and hold the native title interests of the Githabul people.

As part of the consent determination, a number of freehold properties were also transferred to Githabul Nation.


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