Race Relations Charity at Centre of Funding Scandal Sacks Top Staff; MOVE COMES IN SAME MONTH AWEMA LOST PUBLIC FUNDING

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), February 18, 2012 | Go to article overview

Race Relations Charity at Centre of Funding Scandal Sacks Top Staff; MOVE COMES IN SAME MONTH AWEMA LOST PUBLIC FUNDING


Byline: ANDREW HARRISON

A RACE relations charity at the centre of a funding scandal last night dismissed its chief executive and chief finance director.

The All-Wales Ethnic Minority Association (Awema) had all its grants of public funds terminated following a Welsh Government internal audit services report earlier this month.

Awema chair Rita Austin released a statement on the charity's website yesterday to say chief executive Naz Malik and finance director Saquib Zia had been summarily dismissed with immediate effect. The statement also said the Awema board had decided: "To appoint in due course an insolvency practitioner as the company's administrator to take over control of Awema's business and assets from the charity trustees and to close the business."

It continued: "The Awema board would like to thank its staff for the dedicated service they have provided to several hundred participants registered with European funded Awema-managed projects in Swansea and surrounding local authority areas, and in North Wales, especially in these last difficult weeks.

"Staff members are in active contact with participants and will do their best to ensure that support services to them continue through other means." Awema, which has received millions in grants, had all its public funding stopped after the auditors report said its finances were in a mess and alleged the charity had been mismanaged.

Earlier this month the Western Mail revealed Mr Malik received a written warning after admitting using Awema money to pay off a personal credit card bill of pounds 9,340.36.

An auditors' report also revealed Mr Malik had his gym membership and a pounds 110 parking fine paid for by the charity, which also forked out for rugby and cricket tickets for staff and volunteers.

He had also agreed he should have declared an interest when pay rises for his daughter Tegwen, who is Awema's operations director, were reported to the board.

The inquiry report also said a life insurance policy had been paid for by Awema with Mr Malik's wife Bronwen as a beneficiary. …

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