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Two of three ongoing probes into Londonderry charities since the commencement of investigatory powers in 2011 were initiated this year, the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has revealed to the Sentinel.
For example, on February 17, 2014, “concern over the award of contracts” was reported in relation to one charity. That probe is currently in the initial assessment stage. And on March 3, 2014, “concern in relation to possible private benefit and lack of transparency within [an] organisation” was reported in relation to another Londonderry charity.
According to the CCNI it is “working with acting trustees to resolve historical governance and administration of charity.”
But the third live investigation dates June 23, 2011, when “concern in relation to possible private benefit/conflict of interest” was reported. The CCNI “liaised with PSNI and the PPS are currently pursuing a criminal case” in relation to that charity.
Two further investigations initiated this year have already been closed. On March 10, 2014, “concern in relation to application of funds received” was reported against one body. Information was issued to a funding body as the “allegation [related] to their project.”
The CCNI closed the case on April 16, 2014, as it had been taken on by the unnamed funding body in question. And on May 1, 2014, “concern in relation to finances” of another charity was reported.
An independent investigation was undertaken and no weaknesses were identified in financial controls. The case was closed on May 21. In several of the closed cases - five out of eight, in fact - no action was taken whatsoever by the regulator, as concernees had failed to back up their complaints with hard evidence.