Suspended bursar sues education department

by Steve Randall23 Sep 2015
A school business manager who is being investigated by IBAC is suing her employer after she was suspended.

Mary Hannett worked at Chandler Park Primary School for 13 years but was suspended in May 2015 when it emerged that she signed off invoices raised by Nino Napoli, the Education Department’s sacked finance chief. Many of the invoices were alleged to be false.
 
Ms. Hannett says that she believes she did nothing wrong and wants to clear her name and return to work and is bringing the legal action in order to achieve that.

The Age reports that IBAC documents reveal that Ms. Hannett signed off allegedly false invoices amounting to more than $180,000. These included sums for work that was never done and foreign trips. Ms. Hannett was sent on 7 overseas trips and conferences at the expense of the school. She was instructed to do so by school principal Peter Paul.

The Education Department’s Bruce Armstrong told the court that keeping the bursar in her position could pose a risk to school funds and said that it has found accounting errors.However this has not been proven to have involved any wrongdoing by Ms. Hannett. Mr Armstrong said that the suspension was in line with department policy and was “without prejudice” while the inquiry was in progress.

Ms. Hannett says that her continued suspension fuels suspicion that she has done something wrong and says that it was wrong for the education department to appoint someone to her role without a conclusion to the inquiry.

In total funds of more than $2.5 million was misappropriated from school funds by corrupt Department of Education officials.

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