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Transactions worth €60k 'not recorded correctly' in accounts of LGBT charity

The outgoing CEO has detailed some of the irregularities that prompted her to report Glen to the charities regulator.

Image: Shutterstock/lazyllama

Updated at 1.56pm

TRANSACTIONS IN EXCESS of €60,000 were not being correctly reported in the accounts of a LGBT advocacy charity, the outgoing CEO has said.

The revelations are also due to be raised at the Public Accounts Committee.

Áine Duggan reported her own organisation, the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (Glen), to the Charities Regulator after a number of financial irregularities were discovered.

Glen’s executive board said in a statement yesterday that it is satisfied that “all grants received have been used for the intended purpose and has no reason to suspect there has been any misappropriation of fund”.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Duggan said that issues were of “grave concern”, and that any CEO would have a responsibility to act on them.

“I would like to be able to stand up and say, ‘I can absolutely one hundred percent stand over a statement that there was no misappropriation’, unfortunately I can’t”, she said.

Nobody can, and that’s why the audit is so important and I think that it’s really important that we let the audit run its course. The reason we brought in independent auditors was to assert that for us and my hope is that when their work is done they will be able to assert that firmly for us.

Duggan became CEO of the charity in October 2016 and tendered her resignation a number of weeks ago. She explained that she discovered the financial irregularities “very early on”, and that the organisation didn’t have any qualified accounts preparing the books.

“There were transactions in excess of €60,000 that were not being reported in the management accounts.

That would be a concern in and of itself for any nonprofit organization but it was a sort of deeper concern because there were a number of transactions in there that the board was unaware of including spending on political campaign and clearly an indication of spending on credit cards.
In some instances you can definitely see that people got into a habit of doing things without necessarily thinking about it and and that was all behavior that needed to be corrected.

Duggan explained that certain transactions involved did not appear on the management accounts, but do appear on “this other sort of side account which is called the debtors page that the organisation had gotten into the pratice of using over a number of years”.

All of this obviously predates me. The use of these of financial transactions off-the-book, so to speak, goes back I think almost a decade and obviously the principals who would have been around at the time and who would have been involved in the transactions would be better placed to give more detailed account of why that was was happening and why it was the case.

Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald said she intends to raise the issues at the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee after the Easter break.

“I am aware of the tremendous work that Glen does in the LGBT community and we would all like to see that continued and expanded,” she said in a statement.

But we cannot have a situation in which there is uncertainty about elements of the organisations finances.

The financial issues were first revealed by The Sunday Business Post yesterday. The paper detailed, among the issues under investigation, are the use of a company credit card for private purposes, poor budget management, the use of funds to support non-Glen-related political campaigns, and data protection issues.

Read: Glen ‘satisfied’ there has been ‘no misappropriation of funds’ after issues reported to regulator >

More: Staff at liquidated charity Console still haven’t been paid and it looks like they never will be >

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Nicky Ryan

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