Welsh government attempts to claw back public funds from Awema

Jane Hutt, leader of the house, says the government is 'working to safeguard as much as possible of the public funding remaining in Awema accounts'

Jane Hutt
Jane Hutt

The Welsh government has written to the All Wales Ethnic Minority Association to attempt to reclaim public funds.

The race equality charity has received an estimated £8.5m from sources including the Welsh government, the Welsh European Funding Office and the Big Lottery Fund since 2005.

But it is facing closure after a government investigation found "significant and fundamental failures" in the charity’s control and governance framework.

Jane Hutt, the Minister for Finance and Leader of the House, told assembly members this week that it had written to Awema "stating a claim in respect of funding that they currently hold".

Hutt said in a statement that the government was "working to safeguard as much as possible of the public funding remaining in Awema accounts" and also trying to protect people participating in Awema-funded projects.

Hutt said the government was also continuing to liaise with the Charity Commission, which is carrying out a statutory inquiry into Awema, and South Wales Police.

Yesterday the Welsh Liberal Democrats tabled a motion calling on the Welsh government to publish a statement setting out in detail its reasons for maintaining funding to Awema despite repeated warnings of potential financial malpractice.

The Welsh Audit Office has also started an investigation, which will consider whether the Welsh government has managed its relationship with Awema appropriately.

Last week, Rita Austin, Awema’s chair, announced that the chief executive and finance director had been dismissed and that an insolvency practitioner would be appointed.

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