Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Amen Lee is part of Top Education Group's Controlling Shareholder Group: Fresh questions for NSW LPAB,AG Speakman ,and NSW Libs over issuance of Top's LLB license and political donations ; Peter Hall's position at ICAC increasingly untenable

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.

While Liberal Party donor Zhu Minshen has been, this far, the focus of attention with regards Top Education Group and its license to issue LLB degrees, f Dr Amen Lee, former Executive Chairman of the Australia China Trade, Economic and Cultural Association's (ACETCA), appears to have had an equal even if less prominent role in the matter.

In August this year Amen Lee told ICAC:

"If I do attend these (fundraising) 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.

Top's 2019 Annual Report includes these disclosures: 

 The Company made history as it founded the very first Law School within a private higher education institute when both TEQSA and NSW LPAB officially accredited its degree program in Law.

Members of the Controlling Shareholders Group are parties acting in concert and on 13 October 2017, they entered into a confirmation deed to, among others, confirm that they have been acting together with an aim to achieving decisions at general meetings of the Company on a unanimous basis. Members of the Controlling Shareholders Group are the founding Shareholders or have invested in the Company at an early stage. Dr. Zhu and Mr. (Amen) Lee are the members of the Controlling Shareholders Group. As at 30 June 2019, all the members of the Controlling Shareholders Group together controlled 855,468,000 Shares. Under the SFO, each of Dr. Zhu and Mr. Lee is deemed to be interested in the Shares beneficially owned by the other members of the Controlling Shareholders Group.

As at 30 June 2019 Zhu controlled 38.16% of Top's shares, while  Amen Lee controlled 33.46%. 

The above suggests that there is some overlap between Top Group and ACETCA.
All of the above raises many questions as to who else supported Top's introduction into state and federal political ,and legal circles.

The LPAB and the AG Mark Speakman have refused to answer any questions about the license issued Top Group. In addition ICAC chairman Peter Hall has refused to call Minshen Zhu as a witness to the ongoing inquiry into Chinese political donations, despite Amen Lee's testimony. Hall would be required to call Zhu, and those responsible within the LPAB, which is chaired by the Chief Justice of NSW Tom Bathurst, and overseen by the AG, MArk Speakman. 
Hall's position is as chairman of the ongoing inquiry and of ICAC seems increasingly untenable. He should resign.

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