Four people charged over their involvement in alleged serious corruption at South West TAFE will face a committal mention hearing in January.
Former South West TAFE executive manager Maurice Molan, training company TayTell owner and director Rebecca Taylor, her daughter Heather Snelleksz and associate Nicola Clifford appeared in Warrnambool Magistrates Court on Monday for a filing hearing.
Lawyers for the four accused said their clients were on summons and that a hand-up brief had been served on the defence.
A hand-up brief contains witness statements and an accused's record of interview.
Magistrate Mark Stratmann ordered the four accused to appear in the same court for a committal mention hearing on January 20, 2021.
At a committal mention the magistrate may order the accused to be committed to trial at the County Court or Supreme Court, or determine whether any/all of the charges can be heard and finalised in the Magistrates' Court
Victoria's Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC) charged the four people on September 22 with a range of offences as part of Operation Lansdowne, which examined allegations of serious corruption involving the Victorian vocational education and training, and transport sectors.
More than 55 charges have been laid against the four people, including conspiracy to defraud, obtaining financial advantage by deception, using and supplying identification information, misconduct in public office and unauthorised modification of data.
In 2015, The Standard reported South West TAFE, which has multiple campuses at locations including Warrnambool, Hamilton and Portland, had asked police to examine a third-party contractor running an engineering course after uncovering irregularities.
The special investigation by Victoria's corruption watchdog later found an alleged multi-million dollar training scam exploited oversight weaknesses at South West Institute of TAFE.
An IBAC report released in 2017 said a training company operated an alleged scam through which it received more than $2 million of government funding under subcontracting arrangements with two TAFEs, for training that allegedly did not take place.
The investigation identified weaknesses in the systems and controls of South West TAFE and Bendigo Kangan Institute of TAFE which allowed the alleged scam to flourish. The key weakness was a failure by both TAFEs to conduct any meaningful oversight of the training which was meant to be delivered on their behalf.
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