The Charity Commission has appointed an interim manager to Cardiff Sixth Form College amid concerns about "significant related-party transactions between the charity and some of its former trustees" and unmanaged conflicts of interest.
The regulator said in a statement today that it had opened a statutory inquiry into the charity at the end of July but had only just announced it because it did not want to impede an ongoing police investigation into historic financial irregularities.
The commission said it had opened a compliance case on the charity in April after it failed to submit its accounts. The regulator said this gave rise to number of regulatory concerns that resulted in a "books and record" visit to the charity in July.
"As a result of that engagement, the commission has identified regulatory concerns about the charity’s governance, financial management and significant related-party transactions between the charity and some of its former trustees," the commission said today.
"The charity does not appear to have identified and/or managed conflicts of interest and there have been significant high-value transactions which may not have been properly authorised."
The regulator said that in order to protect the charity’s property it had made an order to restrict its bank account and had from 1 November appointed Emma Moody of the law firm Bond Dickinson as interim manager, to the exclusion of the charity’s trustees.
Moody will review the charity’s governance infrastructure and financial controls, and will manage the proposed sale of the establishment to the college operator Dukes Education.
She will also consider pursuing legal action if the charity lost money as a result of any breaches of trustee duties, the commission said.
Gareth Collier, principal of the college, said as far as he was concerned it was business as usual for the college with regard to the education and pastoral care of its 309 students.
Collier, who became principal of the college in 2015, said he was not personally aware of what the police were looking into, but the concerns related to former trustees and the charity’s governance and financial management in the past.
"We are very pleased to be able to continue offering outstanding education and successful outcomes for students," he said.