Ex-Awema chief Naz Malik 'took cash to clear debts'

Naz Malik
Image caption Mr Malik is on trial at Swansea Crown Court

A former charity chief executive took money from the organisation to clear more than £11,000 in credit card debts, Swansea Crown Court has heard.

Naz Malik, ex-head of All Wales Ethnic Minority Association (Awema), is also accused of using charity funds to pay for £3,500 life assurance for his wife.

Awema was wound up in 2012 when its public funding was stopped after claims of financial mismanagement.

Mr Malik denies three counts of fraud.

The charity distributed public money to projects across Wales in order to promote equality and diversity.

Prosecuting, Jim Davis, said in March 2010 Mr Malik asked the charity's finance director Saquib Zia for an advance to cover expenses, using a blank cheque signed by its treasurer.

Mr Zia said the request would need to be approved by the board, but eventually gave one to Mr Malik, which he later made out for £2,500 to reduce his credit card bill.

Life assurance

Four months later Mr Malik took another signed cheque from Mr Zia's drawer while he was away from the office, the court heard.

The cheque was then paid into Mr Malik's account in August 2010 for the sum of £9,340.36 - the exact amount owed on his credit card.

Mr Davis said: "While the defendant was running Awema he defrauded the charity by drawing two cheques for £2,500 and £9,340 which he was not entitled to.

"He was acting dishonestly when he did that.

"The defendant was not authorised to use charity money to reduce his own credit card bill. He knew full well he was not entitled to do so."

The court also heard Mr Malik used the company's bank account to pay for a life assurance policy in the name of his wife, Bronwen Malik.

The policy would see her receive a lump sum of £120,000 in the event of Mr Malik's death.

The monthly direct debit payments of £89.52 were paid from early 2008 to early 2012 leading to a total of more than £3,500.

Jim Davis said these monthly payments had been hidden in the company accounts as "insurance", adding: "He was being dishonest and defrauding the charity."

Mr Malik claimed the two cheques were for expenses and and he was entitled to the life assurance policy because of a salary sacrifice arrangement he had made.

The trial continues.

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