Mr Lee Robertson, the former chief executive officer (CEO) of the Hope Vale Aboriginal Shire Council and former business manager of the Hope Vale Foundation (HVF), has been found guilty of fraud following a CCC investigation.
The HVF is an organisation aimed at pursuing commercial benefits for the Hope Vale community. In his role as business manager, Robertson was responsible for the day-to-day running of the HVF, which at the time in question was providing funds to help support a banana farm project in the Hope Vale region.
The CCC investigation showed that Robertson left his role as CEO of the council and became the HVF business manager. Between 21 December 2012 and 24 February 2013, Robertson transferred a total amount of $58,400, on four separate occasions, from the HVF to the then Mayor of the Council. The transfer of these funds left the HVF without crucial funds to carry on the banana farm project.
Both Robertson and the former mayor were charged in 2014 following a CCC investigation.
On 25 August 2021, Robertson was found guilty in the Maroochydore District Court of fraud and sentenced to two years imprisonment, wholly suspended, with the court noting that Robertson did not personally gain a benefit for himself from the fraudulent conduct.
Charges against the former mayor are yet to be determined by the court.
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