Grain Company executive jailed for export breach
GOONDIWINDI rural industry identity Thomas Dudley Woods has been jailed and his family company Wood Grain, fined $680,000 for breaching export fumigation laws.
The Wood Grain executive was sentenced to 18 months in jail, but will he released after six months on a two-year good behavior bond.
Woods and the company pleaded guilty before Brisbane district court to 69 charges of dishonesty.
The court heard 68 consignments of chickpeas, totaling 18,500 tonnes and worth about $10 million, destined for India were treated with the pesticide phosphine.
However, the company charged the chickpeas’ exporters a total of $109,000 for fumigation, but has agreed to pay back that money with interest.
Commonwealth SC told the court a pest contractor had signed blank fumigation certificates for the company. Which submitted the documents with false information between 2007 and 2009.
The pest contractor concerned received a similar jail term after pleading guilty before Toowoomba District Court in October 2012 to his role in deception.
Mr. Callaghan submitted the offending caused “reputational damage for Australia as a trading partner.”
Barrister Alan MacSporras QC for Woods, told the court the scheme was started by another family member but Woods discovered it was fraudulent in late 2008. His client had turned “a blind eye” and had tried to cover it up, he said The Court heard, notwithstanding the deception, all consignments to India were insect-free.
Judge Brendan Butler said he accepted Woods had not instigated the scheme but he had failed in his duties as a company director by covering it up.
Judge Butler noted Woods was a highly respected businessman and community member, saying he was “saddened” to see him in court.