Serious allegations have been made surrounding a West Australian Aboriginal charitable trust that administers millions of dollars of mining royalties earmarked for relieving poverty, sickness, distress, misfortune and destitution.
WA Attorney General John Quigley last year launched an inquiry into the Njamal People's Trust to investigate claims the disbursement of funds and management were not in line with the trust deed, and the 680-plus page report was tabled in parliament on Tuesday.
Inquirer Alan Sefton combed over the trust in detail, examining matters including its "family buckets" system of distributions.
He identified several areas of concern, including transactions involving motor vehicles, related companies and projects, and the remuneration of directors.
"A number of potential conflicts of interest were either not disclosed or were inadequately disclosed and recorded, or not adequately considered," Mr Sefton said.
He gave a raft of recommendations to reform the current legislation governing charitable trusts, including amending the act to empower the Supreme Court to remove a trustee when it is satisfied that there has been misconduct or mismanagement.
Mr Quigley said further allegations regarding "people apparently acting in relation to the trust" had been brought to his attention after he received the report, which were very serious and had been referred to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
"I have been concerned for some time that some of the communities which these charitable trusts were designed to assist are still disadvantaged," Mr Quigley said.
"In some cases, it is difficult to see how the funds are being used to improve outcomes for our indigenous communities."
The inquiry was sparked by complaints in 2016 and 2017 by Sharon Westerman, who was removed from the board of Njamal Mining, which is wholly owned by the trust, amid allegations of mismanagement.
She has taken legal action against the company in the Supreme Court.
Separately, she is fighting five charges of stealing as a servant and is next due to face Perth Magistrates Court on February 11.
Due to the legal matters, the inquiry did not make any specific findings regarding Ms Westerman's actions in connection with Njamal Mining.