1. August 2011 08:54
A former executive director of ABC Learning Centres Ltd (ABC) has been committed to stand trial on criminal charges of breaching his duties as a director.
Martin Kemp, the former chief executive of the Australian and New Zealand operations of ABC Learning, was committed for trial following the conclusion of a two week committal hearing in Brisbane Magistrates Court today.
He has been committed on two charges:
- one count of breaching his duties as a director and using his position as an ABC director to dishonestly gain an advantage for himself whereby he sought to sell three childcare centres to ABC between 9 and 12 January 2008;
- one count of failing to discharge his duties as a director of ABC in good faith and was dishonest on 1 February 2008 by not disclosing the transactions to ABC’s board members.
The charges are part of an ongoing ASIC investigation which commenced in November 2008 when ABC was placed into administration.
The charges relate to Mr Kemp's purported sale of three childcare centres owned by companies controlled by him to ABC. The childcare centres are: Hamilton House Early Childhood Centre, Queensland; Parklands Drive Early Childhood and Pre School Centre, Boronia Heights, Queensland; and Children’s Centre of Beenleigh, Queensland. In January 2008, ABC paid deposits of $3.082 million, which is approximately 75 per cent of the purchase prices, to companies associated with Mr Kemp (Volbane Pty Ltd and Silipo Pty Ltd). The board of ABC Learning was not informed of the transactions.
The criminal charges each carry a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and/or a $200,000 fine.
Mr Kemp’s bail conditions are to continue.
This matter is being prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
On 25 February 2011, Mr Edmund Groves, former chief executive of ABC Learning Centres, appeared in the Brisbane Magistrates Court for mention on the charge of breaching his duties as a director of ABC in relation to the sale of the aforementioned three childcare centres. He has confirmed his plea of not guilty. He consented to a full hand up committal and was committed for trial in the Brisbane District Court at a date to be fixed. Mr Groves’ bail conditions continue.