Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Peter Hall QC and ICAC not the first to ignore evidence against Zhu Minshen & Top Group: 2016 attempt to sell internships at PwC ignored by LPAB, Department Of Justice, and AG NSW Mark Speakman

by Ganesh Sahathevan

May 17, 2016
A Sydney higher education provider advertised $2800 "internships" at topconsulting firm PwC. ... By Philip ...
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In 2016 The SMH reported:

A Sydney higher education provider has sought to charge students thousands of dollars in return for "internships" at prestigious consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, Fairfax Media can reveal.
Top Education Institute, headquartered in the University of Sydney's biomedical sciences building in Sydney's inner west, circulated advertisements targeting Chinese international students on social media app WeChat last week, spruiking the opportunity to "work closely with PwC partners" in a program with a "1 per cent admission rate in Australia".
Top Education staff told prospective applicants the "internship" program would cost $2800, sparking anger from students concerned that the world's largest professional services firm was selling work placements to the highest bidder, rather than based on merit.
Top and PwC explained it all away as a misunderstanding but as the video in the SM story shows, the intention was clear;Top wanted AUD 2800 to place its students in an internship at PwC.

The above should have triggered an investigation and sanction by the NSW Legal Profession Admission Board and the Department Of Justice, which are all under the purview of the NSW Attorney General, Mark Speakman SC.
None of that happened ,and that alone should have been sufficient for Peter Hall QC to require further information from Zhu and the departments involved.
That has not happened,and this too adds to the evidence that Peter Hall's current inquiry is less than thorough.
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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Peter Hall QC and ICAC have been provided information about Top Group by Dr Amen Lee, but ICAC will still not call Zhu Minshen

by Ganesh Sahathevan

ICAC Chief Commissioner Peter Hall will head an inquiry that involves NSW Labor.

In his current inquiry into Chinese donations to the Labor Party ,ICAC Commissioner Peter
Hall QC(picture above) seems reluctant to go anywhere near the matter of Zhu Minshen and his Top Group,whose
donations to the NSW Liberal Party may have consequences for Hall's former colleagues at the NSW Bar and Bench who manage the Legal Profession Admission Board, the body that has provided Zhu the status of a law school vice chancellor.

The following reported by the SMH this morning adds to the information in the public domain about Zhu Minshen and his Top Education Group,which ICAC Commissioner Peter Hall QC seems determined to ignore in the conduct of his inquiry:

The Australia China Trade, Economic and Cultural Association's (ACETCA) has decided to stop all political donations .The decision has been taken against the backdrop of the Independent Commission Against Corruption's ongoing probe into potential breaches of NSW donation laws at a 2015 Chinese Friends of Labor dinner.

Former ACETCA executive chairman Dr Amen Lee gave a statement to ICAC in August in which he discussed the 2015 dinner and his connection to former NSW Labor MP Ernest Wong.

Dr Lee said he knew Mr Wong, who was listed on ACETCA's now-defunct website as an "honorary adviser" to the association in 2017, but was not friends with him.

Mr Wong was accused in an ICAC hearing last month of organising for Mr Huang, a banned donor who has since been prevented from returning to Australia, to buy the head table of the 2015 dinner for $100,000. Mr Huang and Mr Wong deny those allegations.

An email tendered to the ICAC lists the "Australian-China economic trade & culture Association" among the community groups on the planned dinner guest list.

Dr Lee, who was ACETCA's executive chairman in 2015 but stepped down to become honorary chairman in 2017, told ICAC this year he could not remember attending.

"I do not independently recall attending an event for Ernest Wong at the Eight Restaurant during 2015," Dr Lee said, although he acknowledged a note in his calendar on 12 March 2015, the day when the dinner was held, reading: "ernest wong FUND RAISING din..." [sic].

"I do not independently recall attending an event for Ernest Wong at the Eight Restaurant during 2015," Dr Lee said, although he acknowledged a note in his calendar on 12 March 2015, the day when the dinner was held, reading: "ernest wong FUND RAISING din..." [sic].

"If I do attend these events they are paid for by Top Education or ACETCA. I have not and would not attend as an individual," Dr Lee said. Top Education is a company of which Dr Lee said he was a director and shareholder.

The company's boss Dr Minshen Zhu, Dr Lee's business partner, agreed to pay former senator Sam Dastyari's travel bill of $1670 in 2016 through Top Education after Mr Dastyari overspent his allowance.

Revelations of the transaction triggered Mr Dastyari's first resignation from the shadow cabinet.

There is no suggestion Dr Lee, Top Education or ACETCA has been involved in making any illegitimate or illegal political donations.

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