Millions stolen from Indigenous families across Western Downs
A FEDERAL court has ordered two men to pay $2.2 million after a group of Indigenous families took civil Federal Court action to dispute a native land title agreement.
The native land title agreement was made in 2013 between Arrow Energy and Indigenous families within the Western Downs, so the energy company could use their land for oil, gas, exploration, and pipelines.
After the agreement was made, a Federal Court judge ordered Arrow to pay millions to the affected rightful landholders to give up their rights, with each party to receive one-eleventh of the money allocated.
Russell Doctor and Jason Jarro were responsible for the money and its distribution, however the two decided to take large sums of money for themselves.
Federal Court Justice Steven Rares said hundreds of thousands of dollars was misappropriated when Jarro and Doctor made payments to themselves for meetings that never took place.
The pair were alleged to have organised phone meetings between themselves where they pocketed $2500-$3500, for over 105 meetings.
Investigations are continuing into the purpose of the meetings, some of which are alleged to have occurred over consecutive days.
Also, Doctor who is the company director of Bigamul, directed the transfer of $1.5 million to the company.
Lawyer for the stakeholders, Trevor Hauff, said the community who gave up their rights are now suffering hardships and have nothing to show for it.