Blonde bombshell Queensland LNP disendorsed candidate Hajnal Ban is reportedly in serious legal trouble following VEXNEWS exclusive revelations of financial irregularities involving the affairs of an elderly man in her care. The man cannot be named for legal reasons.
Ban â€“ still a full-time local councillor for the Logan municipality in Queensland â€“ is believed to have been shattered by the adverse publicity following the financial mess and has threatened to write a tell-all book denouncing the members of the Liberal National Party who she says caused her downfall because of her gender.
At its worst, she has been accused of misappropriating the best part of $1 million from him, although no Police charges have been laid and we have been unable to confirm the status of any investigation.
There has been widespread speculation about the circumstances in which Ban had received the money, including suggestions of an â€œinappropriateâ€ past relationship between the two that had been kept secret from LNP operatives who knew them both well. Others claim she just exploited a man who was too frail and sick to stop her. Her explanations â€“ in court and in public â€“ have been â€“ to put it politely â€“ less than comprehensive expositions on why an old man suffering from confusion-related illnesses would give to her nearly half of his entire assets to pay for her personal expenses.
CORRUPTION INVESTIGATORS SUMMONED
Meanwhile, the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission have been asked by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly John Mickel MP to investigate Hajnal Ban and her husband â€“ former ALP activist â€“ Sean Black, both Logan City Councillors.
Ban and husband appear to have been caught out by legal requirements that oblige her to disclose changes in their financial interests including the receipt of large gifts.
Logan Council records show that the duo did not disclose anything at all in relation to the elderly man in her care and gifts she has claimed in court she received and was legally entitled.
A media release issued by the Speaker of the Queensland Parliament explains:
Mr Mickel said he was concerned that Councillor Hajnal Ban and her husband Councillor Sean Black had not properly declared their pecuniary interests as required by law, in which case they had committed an offence.
â€œMy interest in this matter is as the State Member of Logan, and a desire to see proper conduct and high standards of probity on the part of councillors of the Logan City Councilâ€, Mr Mickel said.
Regulations under the Local Government Act 2009 stipulate that councillors must inform the chief executive officer of their council of any changes to their financial particulars within 30 days of any such changes.
Mr Mickel said it had been reported in the media in June this year that the Office of the Adult Guardian had taken Councillor Ban to Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, citing irregularities in financial transfers from July last year to May 2010 between Councillor Ban and a 65-year-old man for whom she held enduring power of attorney.
The transfers involved the proceeds from the sale of a property solely owned by the man, but deposited into a joint bank account, which Councillor Ban opened with the man in late July 2009, a few days before he signed a contract for the sale of the property.
This occurred when the man was in hospital, having been admitted for investigation of his unusual behaviour and confusion. Councillor Ban had been appointed the manâ€™s financial attorney three months earlier.
â€œI have perused the QCAT file of these proceedings. It is evident that following the deposit of more than $2.15 million into the joint account last November, Councillor Ban transferred an amount of $700,000 to her personal bank account, and also transferred $100,000 to Councillor Black.
â€œHowever, it would seem that at the time neither Councillor Ban nor Councillor Black informed the chief executive officer of the Logan City Council of any changes to their financial particulars in relation to these transactions. This is evident from copies of the two councillorsâ€™ Register of Interests from June this year.
â€œThe money received by Councillor Ban in 2009 was part of the proceeds of a property sale which occurred after she was appointed financial attorney for the property owner.
â€œIf the money was a gift, then it needed to be declared by Councillor Ban on her register of interests. If the money was not a gift, the question arises as to the true nature of the financial transaction involving the transfer of money to Councillor Banâ€™s personal bank account.
â€œFor his part, Councillor Black did not advise any changes to his financial particulars arising from the transfer of money to him by Councillor Ban last year. If the money was not a gift, the question arises as to the true nature of the financial transaction involving the transfer of money to Councillor Black.â€
Mr Mickel said that aside from the question of the possible offences by Councillor Ban and Councillor Black relating to their obligation to advise of any changes to their register of interests within 30 days, there was the separate and far more serious matter regarding Councillor Banâ€™s exercise of her enduring power of attorney in the dispersal of funds from the joint bank account.
â€œTo date, Councillor Banâ€™s actions have not been investigated by the police or by a body such as the Crime and Misconduct Commission to determine if they involve any criminal offences, including any breach of the Criminal Code or the Powers of Attorney Act 1998.
â€œI believe such an investigation, on the face of evidence on the QCAT file in relation to this matter, is warranted.â€
Mr Mickel said he was aware that Councillor Ban and Councillor Black may have updated their financial particulars since the copy of their register of interests was obtained in June this year.
This, however, would not release them from their legal obligation to update their register of interests within 30 days of any change to their financial or non-financial particulars, nor would it preclude the commission of an offence arising from their failure to do so.
VEXNEWS readers will recall that Councillor Ban was disendorsed following our revelations of the case to which Speaker Mickel refers. Since then, Ban has caused considerable angst in the party that once gave her preselection for a safe federal seat.
She has publicly indicated she plans to run for state preselection for a safe Labor seat in the state Parliament although local LNP activists tell VEXNEWS thatâ€™s not a good idea, either for her or for the party.
Some point to her earlier previously published remarks on state government â€“ that it ought to be abolished entirely â€“ as making her a crazy choice for the party to make. An LNP member speaking on condition of anonymity told VEXNEWS:
â€œHajnalâ€™s problem is that she once had a dream run where she was rarely criticised and her words not closely examined. After her disendorsement, the reverse is true. Look up what she said â€“ on the record â€“ about h
er enormous diamond engagement ring. She told the public her husband saved up for it. In truth, they took the money from a sick old bloke who was in her care. Itâ€™s more than just sick, itâ€™s evil and she seems to be operating in a parallel universe where these things donâ€™t matter. I reckon sheâ€™s unelectable and unpreselectable for anything, anywhere. She is the political equivalent of the living dead.â€
Local political observers regard it as highly unlikely the LNP would endorse her for a state seat and believe itâ€™s highly likely a conservative rival will contest her ward at the next council elections with a view to removing her from the political scene altogether.