An inquiry will be held into the management of an Aboriginal trust that has claims to areas in Western Australia's mineral rich Pilbara region.
8 May 2017 - 3:09 PM  UPDATED 8 May 2017 - 3:11 PM

Attorney General John Quigley has appointed deputy state counsel Alan Sefton to conduct the inquiry into the Njamal People's Trust, following allegations the disbursement of funds and management are not in line with the trust deed.

According to their website, The Njamal People’s Trust was established in 2003 as a perpetual Charitable Trust to assist the Njamal People. The deed instructs funds are to be used for relieving poverty, sickness, distress, misfortune and destitution.

The West Australian reported  some of the companies paying royalties to the trust include Atlas Iron, Millennium Minerals and Pilbara Minerals. Fortescue Metals Group has a project on Njamal land that hasn’t started producing.

“Documents lodged with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission show the trust had income of $3.5 million last year and had assets of more than $5 million,” the report said.

If any breaches are found, Mr Quigley can apply to the WA Supreme Court for orders or, in the most extreme case, the removal of a trustee.

Mr Quigley said Mr Sefton would have wide statutory powers to examine the charitable trust.

"This includes the powers to call for all books, papers, writings and documents in relation to the trust, and require every trustee and individual acting or having any concern in the management of the administration of the trust to answer all questions and provide assistance," he said.

NITV News contacted the Njamal People's Trust, but they declined to comment.

With AAP

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