The alleged serious corruption case involving South West TAFE will be heard in Melbourne.
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 Friday for a committal mention hearing.
The prosecution successfully applied to transfer the case to Melbourne, arguing that Mr Molan was the only accused who resided in the south-west with the remaining three living interstate or in Melbourne.
The court heard that while the alleged offending occurred in Warrnambool, the majority of witnesses in the case lived in metropolitan Melbourne.
Lawyers for the four accused did not oppose the application, which was granted.
The four accused will appear in Melbourne Magistrates Court for a further committal mention hearing on July 6.
The court heard lawyers were awaiting further transcripts from Victoria's Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC).
Lawyer Kristina Kothrakis, representing Mr Molan, confirmed a plea offer was still being considered.
IBAC charged the four people on September 22 last year 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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