Thursday, 18 October 2012

Awema. Did Labour turn a blind eye?

The Western Mule Reports that a damning report from the Wales Audit Office has strongly criticised the Welsh Government’s “often weak” financial oversight of the controversial ethnic minorities charity Awema.

A report by the Wales Audit Office has revealed the charity received £7.1m from the Welsh Government between July 2000 and December 2011.

The Mule also add  that the  Welsh Government is unlikely to recover much of the £545, 966 debt it says it is owed by the charity, which oversaw projects aimed at improving the employment prospects of people from ethnic minorities.

It is now in liquidation

The Mule continues ,,,,,

Earlier it was revealed how Awema was in turmoil, with allegations of financial irregularities and bullying and harassment against its chief executive Naz Malik. 

Mr Malik, who was subsequently sacked, admitted paying off a personal credit card debt of more than £9,000 with Awema money, but claimed it was an advance on his expenses.
Mr Malik was also found to have authorised significant pay rises to his daughter Tegwen, who was employed as Awema’s operations director. Her salary rose from £20,469 to £50,052 between January 2008 and August 2011.
A joint report by the Welsh Government’s Internal Audit Services and the Big Lottery Fund concluded that trustees of Awema, including Mr Malik, had shown “little regard to the recognised standards in public life”.
The new report from the Wales Audit Office (WAO) catalogues in detail the relationship between the Welsh Government and Awema over a decade.
It says that while the Government’s management and coordination of its grant funding to Awema had often been weak, no evidence had been found of inappropriate political influence in funding decisions.
Western Mail 18 October 2010

You can see the whole article here

Despite concerns about Awema the full extent of the problems there only truly came to life when Malik was accused of bullying and harassment  and the report shows that In 2006, the then Plaid Cymru AM Dr Dai Lloyd was given an inaccurate and incomplete response to a Written Assembly Question. Based on information given to her by the equalities unit, Jane Hutt, the Minister responsible for Equality, said the total amount of Welsh Government funding to Awema amounted to £792,245.

In fact, the charity had at that time received £1.7

How well informed are AMs let alone the rest of us on Third Party ventures, and  how they are audited?

There had been has been a worrying feeling amongst some observers that the charity had been treated favourably because Mr Malik was a member of the Labour Party and that this a part of a Welsh culture that sees Labour members having powerful positions in such third party sectors and whilst  I fully understand the vast majority are truly committed and honest it does not mean they are always the best people for these jobs and their Labour links prevent a thorough scrutiny by the Assembly Government to see that these bodies in receipt of funds are not only free of corruption but also run competently  

But I fear as Labour  retrieve the control of Local Authorities this will get worse.

Perhaps the the first thing the Assembly should do is to ensure that a deceleration of Interest by senior Members of Body  in receipt of Welsh Government funds should declare any membership of a Political Party or other organisation that has links to the Assembly


Shambo said...

Its worth remembering that alarm bells were also going off about Awema when the One Wales government was in office. Plaid as well as Labour have some questions of their own to answer in my opinion.

glynbeddau said...

As they probably the Liberal Democrats have where when in coalition Labour where in coalition 2001-2003 might as you say have some questions to answer but its Labour who need to answer the most.