Assembly called on to answer charity claims
WELSH ministers are being called on to answer questions about the distribution of money to a charity wound up over allegations of financial mismanagement.
Last week, a report from the Wales Audit Office concluded more than £500,000 will not be recovered from The All Wales Ethnic Minority Association, and that co-ordination of public money to the former Swansea- based charity was "often weak.
It followed a report earlier in the year which identified "significant and fundamental failures" in the charity's governance, after it emerged
Its chief executive, Naz Malik, had claimed £9,000 as an advance on future expenses, to pay off his credit card, and used taxpayers money to pay a parking fine and fund tickets to rugby and cricket matches and gym membership.
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His daughter Tegwen, the charity's operations director, had also seen her salary more than double since 2008, to just over £50,052. Following the publication of the Wales Audit Report, which also concluded there was no evidence of inappropriate political influence over funding decisions, the Welsh Government issued a statement that it was "already acting on the lessons contained in the report", which it said would help to "build on the work under way to improve the future management of our grants programme."
But Welsh Government ministers have remained silent on the issue.
Now the Lib Dems have issued a standing order, which allows any Assembly Member to call for a debate to take place. If accepted, AMs will then be given the opportunity to vote on whether to hold a debate.
Peter Black, shadow minister for equalities, said: "We are using all avenues available to us to force reluctant Welsh Labour ministers to face up to their responsibilities.
"The people of Wales have a right to be told why ministers thought it was acceptable for millions of pounds of taxpayer's money to be thrown at an organisation that was not financially sound.
"Ministers have refused every opportunity presented to them to explain their actions. It is nothing short of a disgrace that we are yet to receive a single statement since the release of the Wales Audit report."
A Government spokesman said: "There is an agreed and established process in place to consider reports of this nature. The National Assembly's Public Accounts Committee will give due consideration to the Wales Audit Office's report, and the committee's conclusions will be debated by Assembly Members in due course. It would therefore be highly inappropriate for Welsh Ministers to comment until then."