WHAT REALLY WENT DOWN AT HEALESVILLE RSL
1. In 2005, Sam Halim was elected Vice President of Healesville RSL SubBranch.
2. One year later, in March 2006, Sam was elected President of Healesville RSL SubBranch in a landslide
3. After approximately 18 months, President Sam Halim and his committee managed to turn around the critical financial situation of Healesville SubBranch, from near insolvent to profitability, with more than $200,000 in the bank account. This was achieved through hard work, dedication, good business practice and vision.
4. In August 2006, State Branch advised Healesville RSL committee that they had a good manager for the subbranch by the name of Peter McPhee. President Sam Halim and his committee later informed Victorian State Branch that, after giving Mr McPhee three months trial, the committee had found him unsuitable for the manager’s job. RSL Victorian State Branch sent a letter to the committee telling it to accept Mr McPhee as Healesville RSL Manager or else (see Annex A)
5. In late 2006, State Branch ANZAC House sent an outstanding account of $18,913.61, going back to a 2000/2001 external audit into alleged financial mismanagement by then president Robert Dowie and treasurer Graeme Blyth.
6. Sam Halim and his committee advised Anzac House that they would not be paying the account. In private some members thought that State Branch was just interested in a slice of the $200,000+ in the subbranch bank account. It was the opinion of one member of the committee, Terry Maloney, who had also been on the 2001 committee, that “They want to give Tony Bowden a free holiday”. Needless to say, State Branch did not like Healesville committee’s decision not to pay the account and went on to insist the account be paid.
7. In October 2006, Michael Annett invited President Sam Halim to a meeting at State Branch with himself and Chief Financial Officer Mark Sherlock. At this meeting, Sam Halim and his committee were congratulated for their excellent financial performance at Healesville RSL. When Sam asked why he had been brought all the way from Healesville to Collins St rather than being congratulated over the phone, the real reason for the meeting was revealed: the committee were being asked to support a new investigation into 2000/2001 financial affairs of Healesville RSL SubBranch, as State Branch claimed new evidence of financial mismanagement against Robert Dowie and Graeme Blyth had come to light. President Sam Halim consented to the request on the basis of the new evidence but added that he would not support or allow any members on his committee to be prosecuted without evidence . We now know that there was no new evidence and that State Branch did not like to see Mr Dowie and Mr Blyth elected back onto 2006 Healesville RSL committee.
8. In November 2006, Tony Bowden, with the authority of State Branch President David McLachlan, started the socalled investigation and produced a laughable and ridiculous report which lacked all basic principles of an impartial investigation (yet another account to be paid to Tony Bowden). The report, released in December 2006, stated that there was a conflict of interest between President Sam Halim’s position and his family business. It also claimed that President Halim was protecting committee members Graeme Blyth and Robert Dowie . If the report had been truly impartial, Tony Bowden would have at least talked or interviewed Sam Halim, Robert Dowie and Graeme Blyth. No such interviews ever took place. A former army officer, Tony Bowden forgot he was reporting on civilian issues not military orders. He forgot that all RSL members are equal before the RSL constitution.
9. In January 2007, with the authority of the RSL State President, Tony Bowden held a meeting with the full committee at Healesville RSL SubBranch. During this meeting, Mr Bowden stated that Graeme Blyth and Bob Dowie were criminals, should be behind bars and should resign from the committee immediately. When Sam Halim objected to the way Tony Bowden was behaving and told him that he could not talk like that to committee members and that he should take the two members to court should he have evidence of their guilt, Tony Bowden said to Sam Halim that he had nothing against him and that Sam Halim should not defend them. Sam Halim objected and told Tony Bowden that he was attacking his committee and two of its elected members in an illegal way. Sam insisted on closing the meeting.
10. Following that meeting, Tony Bowden informed the State Branch president that Sam Halim was not a yes man and that he was protecting Robert Dowie and Graeme Blyth. He advised that the committee should either be dissolved or they should call for another election, in the hope that Graeme Blyth, Robert Dowie and Sam Halim would not be reelected (this is the real reason why Tony Bowden stated there was a conflict of interest between Sam Halim’s position and his family business. Strange that this supposed conflict of interest was never an issue when Sam Halim was a mere member of Healesville RSL or when he was only vice president).
11. Contrary to RSL constitution, State Branch ordered a new election at Healesville RSL Sub-Branch. During the election, Tony Bowden tried to intervene in the vote counting, but was rebuffed by the scrutineers officers John Taylor and John West (current RSL members).
12. To the disappointment of State Branch, Healesville RSL members reelected Sam Halim as president against two other contestants (with a win of 84%).
13. Also in early 2007 the treasurer, Graeme Blyth, informed Healesville RSL committee that some irregularities had been found in the financial activities of the manager of Healesville Sub-Branch, Peter McPhee. President Sam Halim confirmed that there were some financial irregularities and had a meeting with Mr McPhee and the Committee to discuss these issues. Mr Halim informed RSL Vic Branch CEO, Michael Annett, of the issue, in accordance with Bylaws Module 6 (“What to do when you suspect fraud”).
14. In August 2007, Healesville RSL committee appointed an accounting company, Kerry Grills Associates, to conduct an audit on Peter McPhee and other issues. Victorian RSL State Branch objected and insisted on dealing with the suspicion of fraud themselves, hoping to sweep it under the carpet, as Peter McPhee was their golden boy and a member of Victorian RSL property committee, along with John Wells. (UPDATE:Vic. State President David McLachlan appears to have sacked Peter McPhee in 2011, ostensibly for the same reasons raised by Sam Halim’s committee in 2007, and apparently there is little communication between the two parties now). The Kerry Grills report dated 2 October 2007 (see Annex B) proved beyond any doubt the suspicions of financial irregularity regarding Peter McPhee. It could also find no evidence of the sanction of a sale or evidence of the supposed purchase of a subbranch computer in the private possession of Robert Gannaway (See page 5, Annex B). Other items of Healesville RSL memorabilia and properties held in the possession of Robert Gannaway had already been sighted and reported to president Sam Halim and committee by the then memorabilia officer, John Taylor.
15. Earlier, in late June 2007, against all laws and principles, David McLachlan sent a representative, John Wells, to meet with President Halim to discuss the issue of suspicion of fraud against Healesville RSL manager, Peter McPhee. During the meeting, John Wells asked Sam Halim to allow Victorian RSL State Branch to perform their own investigation of Peter McPhee.
President Sam Halim insisted that RSL Bylaws 10A Module 6 must be followed. John Wells simply said that the RSL wrote those laws and could rewrite them and it was in Halim’s best interests to allow State Branch to deal with the issue otherwise RSL would defame him and his committee. Sam Halim threatened to take the issue to court if he had to, in order to protect his members’ interests. His committee could not allow the issue to be swept under the carpet by RSL
State Branch (Annex C) . Mr Wells said that President Sam Halim and his committee did not have the money to take the RSL to court and that the RSL had millions to spend on legal fees. Mr Halim was insistent about following bylaws 10A Module 6 (What to do when you suspect fraud). John Wells then advised Mr Sam Halim not to deal with the suspicion of fraud issue, otherwise he would be sacked and defamed. President Halim insisted on following RSL Constitution and contacted National RSL, Police, Fraud Squad, Gaming Commission etc…(in accordance with RSL Victorian Branch Corporate Governance Module 6 Fraud Detection). And that was the start of the State Branch attack and campaign of defamation and lies against
President Sam Halim (see ANZMI who do they think they are?)