Pair ordered to pay $2.2m in Indigenous land scandal
TWO men involved in an Indigenous land use scandal have been ordered to pay an incredible $2.2 million by a federal court.
Russell Doctor and Jason Jarro were ordered to pay the combined total, after a group of Indigenous families took civil Federal Court action last year, disputing a native land title agreement.
According to a Federal Court judgment, the agreement was supposed to see a mining company pay millions to use Indigenous land in the Western Downs.
Doctor and Jarro were responsible for the money received from the mining company, Arrow Energy, for use of the land, according to the Federal Court judgment.
Each Indigenous family group involved in the agreement should have received one-eleventh of the money paid by Arrow Energy to give up their rights to the land.
But much of the money was misappropriated, after Doctor and Jarro arranged payments to themselves worth hundreds of thousands of dollars for a series of meetings which did not take place, Federal Court Justice Steven Rares found,
Doctor also oversaw the transfer of $1.5 million to a company called Bigamul where he is a director. The money has not been recovered.
The lawyer for some of the stakeholders, Trevor Hauff, fears the money may never be recovered.
"The hardship is on the communities who have given up their native title rights over these areas and have nothing to show for it," Mr Hauff said.
Allegations that Doctor and Jarro concocted meetings between themselves where they were paid $2500-3500 for more than 105 meetings over the phone - some on consecutive days for no purpose - are being investigated.
Doctor and Jarro did not respond when contacted.
Originally published as Pair ordered to pay $2.2m in Indigenous land scandal