FOUR people, including former South West TAFE executive manager Maurice Molan, have been directed to stand trial over an alleged education training scam.
Mr Molan, training company TayTell owner and director Rebecca Taylor, her daughter Heather Snelleksz and associate Nicola Clifford will face the Melbourne County Court for a directions hearing on May 6.
They pleaded not guilty to a raft of fraud-related charges and were committed to stand trial following a committal hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court earlier this month.
IBAC charged the four people on September 22, 2020 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 were 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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