atsic...$6 million security for an $800k loan??? -

  1. 1,481 Posts.
    Have a read of this and process how above the system a few of these people see themselves......

    Alarm at Sugar's loan plan
    By Tony Koch and David Nason
    October 8, 2004

    THE board of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission has given conditional approval to a plan presented by "Sugar" Ray Robinson for 23 Aboriginal homes and three sheep stations in southwest Queensland - worth nearly $6million - to be used as security for an $800,000 loan.

    Under the deal, which has been greeted with alarm by ATSIC chief executive Mick Gooda, the funds would be used to pay out a $639,166 debt owed by the Charleville-based Bidjara Aboriginal Housing and Land Company, which is in receivership. ( And a whole other story of utter and wanton waste of OUR money!!!)

    Mr Robinson, who stood down as ATSIC deputy chairman in June last year but remains a commissioner, previously controlled Bidjara.

    But in a letter circulated to Geoff Clark and his 17 fellow ATSIC commissioners, Mr Gooda said the board had approved Mr Robinson's proposal "without a considered briefing or advice, without full knowledge of the loan terms and without any details of what properties would be required to be mortgaged" (How incredibly incompetent is THAT???).

    Mr Gooda also warned commissioners of Mr Robinson's conflict of interest in relation to the Bidjara debt, saying the board would be "unwise to consider this proposal in the absence of a sound and proper assessment of it".

    "He (Mr Robinson) advocated before the board on behalf of directors of a company in receivership to secure settlement of a debt owed to ATSIC," Mr Gooda wrote.

    "He continually referred to Bidjara as 'we' and clearly identifies very closely with the company."

    Mr Gooda further warned that the board had failed to meet its legal obligation to give Indigenous Affairs Minister Amanda Vanstone 60 days' notice of its intention to enter such an arrangement and to provide the minister with a report from a qualified auditor certifying that the repayment schedule was reasonable in the circumstances.

    According to one ATSIC commissioner, Mr Robinson told the ATSIC meeting of August 31, chaired by Geoff Clark, that payment of the debt would allow Aboriginal people to get the receivers out and resume management of the housing company.

    The commissioner, who declined to be named, said Mr Robinson presented a one-page document which stated that the loan, by Sydney-based firm RMBL Investments, would be repaid interest-only over three years at 8.5 per cent.

    The rate would rise to 16 per cent if a payment were missed.

    "He (Mr Robinson) said he would have to pay $5000 a month for three years - $180,000 in interest - and then the $800,000 capital had to be repaid," the commissioner said.

    The ATSIC board agreed with the plan, pending an independent assessment by accountants Deloitte Touche Tomatsu of Bidjara's ability to repay the principal when it fell due.

    But the board did not raise any questions about the propriety of risking more than $5 million in assets for an $800,000 loan -( HOW INCOMPETENT IS THAT???.

    In his letter, Mr Gooda said Mr Robinson had orally advised the board that "all" of Bidjara's properties would be required as security for the loan.

    "The effect of this is that the loan from RMBL will be secured by mortgages to RMBL over properties valued at considerably more (some $5.8 million) than the amount of the loan from RMBL," Mr Gooda wrote.

    "In order to obtain repayment of its debt ATSIC is to give up all of its rights and interests in those properties and approve the giving of mortgages by Bidjara to RMBL."

    Mr Gooda yesterday confirmed that he had written the letter and said he expected the independent assessment today. He declined to comment further.

    Mr Robinson told The Australian last night that the ATSIC commissioners had already "disregarded" Mr Gooda's letter and had no confidence in him.

    He refused to discuss his dealings with the loan firm, saying they were "commercial in confidence".

    Ms Vanstone said that if the ATSIC board decided to proceed with the loan approval, the federal Government would take "any necessary steps" to protect indigenous interests.

    "This would not have been an issue if Labor had passed our legislation to abolish ATSIC some time ago," she said.

    "The CEO, Mr Gooda, is undertaking his proper duties, giving advice to the board on their responsibilities."

    Mr Clark could not be reached for comment.

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