Monday, September 9, 2019

Is Zhu Minshen a property developer,should the NSW Liberals have accepted his money.

by Ganesh Sahathevan

Troy Grant MP

Mark Speakman SC 

As First Law Officer of the state, Speakman oversees
the administration of almost 200 Acts of Parliament,
the most of any minister in the NSW Government.
He is the Minister ultimately responsible
for Zhu Minshen and his Top Group being granted
their license to issue law degrees.

In 2014 and 2015 the NSW Liberal Party s received donations of $44,275 from TOP Education Group just before and after TOP was granted the "first & only" license issued a private company to award law degrees. The Minister ultimately responsible for the grant of hat license is the Attorney General Mark Speakman SC.

Zhu's Top Group is in the business of providing teaching services, but Zhu himself is reported  to be a well known investor in real estate(see article in Chinese below). Additionally Clive Hamilton in his book "Silent Invasion"  asserts that Zhu started a property development company in 1996 from which he made "tens of millions of dollars". 

Property developers can use tertiary education businesses to attract buyers to their developments; overseas students especially provide a strong  catchment of buyers and renters. The strategy is popular among Asian developers and investors,given their ability to market their developments to potential students and their parents in their home countries.

This simple fact of business life and Zhu's history as a property developer raises the question whether the NSW Liberals ,and other politicians, ought to have accepted donations from Zhu and his businesses given the prohibition in NSW against donations from property developers.

The above is relevant to the current ICAC inquiry which is concerned with whether Labor attempted to evade  the NSW laws that prohibit donations from property developers. ICAC and Peter Hall QC seem determined to avoid anything to do with Minshen Zhu  and that determination seems to have made them blind to the above which is in the public domain. They do so despite the fact that the inquiry is intended to gather information.


NSW Libs received donations of $44,275 from TOP Education Grosup just before after TOP was granted the "first & only" licenset issued a private company to award law degrees: AG Speakman and his LPAB refuse to disclose all details in the LPAB Annual Reports

by Ganesh Sahathevan

Troy Grant MP

Mark Speakman

As First Law Officer of the state, Mark oversees 
the administration of almost 200 Acts of Parliament, 
the most of any minister in the NSW Government. 

The Legal Profession Admission Board is a  statutory body chaired by the Chief Justice of New South Wales.Its annual report is tabled in the NSW Parliament by the Attorney General NSW , currently Mark Speakman SC,for approval.

The LPAB's duties include granting licenses for the award of  Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degrees to interested parties ,which until recently were all public universities. In 2015 the LPAB issued a license to grant LLBs to TOP Education Group Ltd, which proudly proclaims the fact that it is the "first and only" private company to have been granted such a license. 

The AG NSW is also the Liberal Member for Cronulla and he,as well as the LPAB , have been queried about the following issues discovered in the LPAB's 2015 Annual Report which relate to the TOP Group application. 

The  LPAB states in its 2015 Annual Report:

In addition, the LPAB received an application for accreditation of a new law degree to be offered by a non-university provider, TOP Education Institute (LLB).
The LPAB considered the advice of its Accreditation Sub-Committee and Legal Qualifications Committee, and also consulted with other admitting authorities through the Law Admissions Consultative Committee (LACC),  before deciding to accredit the new degree with effect from 1 January 2015.

With regards the above the LPAB and the  AG have  been asked why in considering the TOP application they  appear not to have considered   TOP  Group's CEO and controlling shareholder Minshen Zhu's  business failures which were a matter of public record in 2015 ,and collated in its 2018 Prospectus issued in connection with the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of its stock and listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Zhu's business failures are listed on page 160 and 167 of the IPO Prospectus. They are failures in small businesses which in turn raise questions about his capacity to fund a much larger venture like TOP.

The LPAB and AG were  also queried about the exclusion from the 2015 Annual Report of material that had been disclosed in the 2012 Annual Report where it is stated  that LPAB member Dr Gordon Elkington was assigned to TEQSA to assist with theTOP  application for the relevant licenses from TEQSA. 

The exclusion from the 2015 annual report of the information disclosed in the 2012 annual report gives the impression that the LPAB's assessment of the TOP application in 2015 was a dealing with a party with which it had no prior relationship, when in fact it had.

All of the above would be of  concern to both students and investors given the dramatic collapse in TOP's share price, The AG and the LPAB have confirmed in writing that they are not interested in answering any of the questions above.

It has since been discovered that in the 4 months or so prior to the LPAB granting TOP  the license to issue law degrees,TOP made donations worth AUD 44 275 to the Liberal Party NSW Branch.

While  Mr Speakman is AG and the most senior law officer in the state, he is first and foremost a politician.He would not be AG had he not been elected.

It was to his party that the above donations have been made,and his refusal to answer the questions above does raise the perception that something is not quite right. 

His Department Of Justice has in the past shown that theMinister ,his Department Of Justice,and the LPAB can and do work together in the interest of their Minister and vice versa.This has included a recent non-disclosure of complaints against the LPAB and the College Of Law in the 2018 Annual Report.

Hence it is not unreasonable to expect that together they  provide answers to these issues which are of public interest,and which concern their conduct as public servants.


No comments:

Post a Comment