A native title holder says there should be an investigation into the ownership of the land in Mt Johns Valley now being developed as a residential estate.
William Craig says he and his sister Connie, both from the Antulye estate group, have been fighting for four years to get clarity about the deal.
The process by which the land came into the possession of LAE Nominees Pty Ltd needs to be investigated, he says. The town's native title body Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation (LAAC) had authority over the land and was the party to do a deal in its regard with the NT Government. The question is, how did the land end up in the hands of a private company over which LAAC has no control. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
DRAWING: Architect's impression of units at Mt Johns subdivision.
A spokesperson for Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin said this afternoon she understands the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs is currently looking into issues surrounding the use Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA) funds by a company linked to the Lhere Artepe native title organisation.
The spokesperson said this was to "ensure that all ABA funds have been used appropriately.
"Grants from the ABA are made to support projects which benefit Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory.”
The Alice Springs News on Tuesday reported it had obtained an email exchange revealing a bitter dispute about the purchase of shares in a company.
The exchange casts more light on the deal by an affiliate of Lhere Artepe. However, the main players are keeping mum on what appears to be an unfolding scandal.
The company, CDE Civil, collapsed soon after the majority shareholding was bought by Lhere Artepe Enterprises Pty Ltd. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
It appears a company linked to the Alice Springs native title holders' organisation, Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation, has mortgaged supermarkets it bought in 2010 – partly with public money – to pay for a company now in liquidation. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
A "special director" of the Antulye estate group of native title owners in Alice Springs, Ron Morony (pictured left), says yesterday's Centralian Advocate newspaper report about the Mt Johns Valley residential development omits a crucial detail about the defunct CDE Civil group.
He says the newspaper neglects to point out that its main source, Darryl Pearce (pictured right), identified in the report as "native title holder Lhere Artepe's CEO", is also the sole director of the company now in liquidation, defaulting on significant debts to local contractors.
Alice Springs News Online reported Mr Pearce's position within CDE Civil earlier this month.
This is confirmed by an ASIC extract, dated September 19, when the company had gone into liquidation.
Mr Morony is a financial consultant based in Canberra. As the CEO of Indigenous Business Australia between 1993 and 2010 he raised the asset base of the organisation from $40m to $1b.
He is in Alice Springs for meetings with Lhere Artepe interests who say they are keen to restore the influence of native title holders on their organisation.
Mr Morony says he is concerned about the impact of the management failure of CDE Civic.
"I am constantly being asked by my relatives and local native title members about what is happening in their name and they ask when will accountability and common courtesy be extended to them." ERWIN CHLANDA reports.