Frances Magill, the former long-term boss of Statewide Super, has broadly denied the fund’s allegations she wrongfully gained up to $344,000 in members’ money. Frances Magill has refused to pay $344,000 to Statewide Super, believing there was “no proper basis” underpinning the allegations of fraud the fund had levelled against her, according to the defence statement filed by her lawyers. In the September 2010 statement, Magill broadly rejected allegations that she was overpaid salary and leave entitlements while also breaching the fund’s travel and corporate expenses policies – all of which amounted to $343,990 in wrongfully gained benefits, according to the $2 billion Statewide. As evidence, Statewide had submitted payroll and transaction histories to the SA District Court to substantiate its claim that Magill, the fund’s senior executive of 20 years, allegedly received the benefits.

Magill denied she was overpaid $130,761 throughout the 2002 to 2009 financial years, in addition to $19,940 in annual leave, which Statewide claimed was taken alongside conferences she attended interstate and overseas. She also denied incurring $79,630 in entertainment bills and $36,425 in motor vehicle hire and accessories, among other large claims, such as personal and family accommodation during industry conferences held interstate and overseas. According to Statewide’s claim, the “allowable limit” for Magill’s accommodation expenses, set at $229 for each night for five consecutive nights, was exceeded when the former CEO spent $8,323 on accommodation for her and her family during the 2008 ASFA conference in Auckland.

During this time, Magill also spent $2,348 on motor vehicle hire, according to Statewide’s records. The next April, Magill allegedly again breached the fund’s allowable limit for airfares by purchasing tickets worth $11,234 to attend a Centre for Investor Education conference in the US, before going on to claim $11,180 for personal and family accommodation during the event. Meanwhile, Statewide said, from June 2005 to November 2009 Magill incurred $14,016 in “excess accommodation charges” during an array of domestic and overseas conferences and seminars; spent $2,713 on accessories for her private vehicles; $7,900 on personal and family car hire; and taxi and chauffeur fares worth $1,912 from October 2007 to March 2009. The alleged expenses claims took place as Magill’s annual base salary almost doubled from $153,000 in 2002 to $304,750 in 2009.

Magill, however, denied these allegations and said there was no ‘allowable limit’ set by the fund for her for personal and family accommodation. She said “no travel policy was ever adopted” by the fund, but that a draft policy was created between 2006 and 2007, and that a draft credit card policy was circulated in January 2008 but was never formally adopted. Statewide, meanwhile, referred in its documents to formal travel and credit card policies which applied to Magill during her tenure. The fund asserted that Magill authorised a written travel policy that covered allowable expenses for class of travel, car rental, valid travel expenses, accompanying spouse or family members and recreation leave alongside business travel.

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