South East Wales

Police probe suspected Cardiff Sixth Form College fraud

Cardiff Sixth Form College Image copyright Google

An investigation into a Cardiff college has been launched over "high value transactions" which may not have been properly authorised.

South Wales Police said officers were looking into potential fraud at Cardiff Sixth Form College on Newport Road.

The force and the Charity Commission have appointed Emma Moody of Bond Dickinson as interim manager to take over the running of the college.

Restrictions on the college's bank account have also been lifted.

College principal Gareth Collier said it was "business as usual" at the college, which is a registered charity.

"We continue to deliver a high-quality education and there is no question at all of anything untoward in the activities of the college in regard to teaching and learning and pastoral care," he said.

The commission opened its inquiry on 29 July following a compliance case in April related to the charity's failure to submit its accounts on time - it does not relate to the standard of education at the independent college.

South Wales Police is investigating allegations of historical financial irregularities.

According to the Charity Commission's website, the college's accounts for the year ending 31 August 2014 were received on 23 February 2016 - 238 days late.

In February, the college featured on a BBC documentary Britain's Brainiest School.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The London-based Charity Commission is investigating alongside South Wales Police

A commission spokesman said concerns had been raised about the governance of the charity, which employs 135 people and has three volunteers.

He added: "The commission reviewed the charity's accounts and identified a number of regulatory concerns, resulting in a books and records visit being conducted in July 2016.

"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 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."

Ms Moody's appointment meant the serving trustees were excluded, she took control of finances and will oversee the proposed sale of the college to consultancy firm Dukes Education.

She will also consider legal action if the charity has lost money if it is found trustees breached their duties.

The Charity Commission's inquiry will cover:

  • administration, governance and management of the charity by the trustees with specific regard to decision-making
  • whether there were any unauthorised private benefit to current or former trustees or connected parties
  • whether current or former trustees properly exercised their legal duties and responsibilities in accordance with charity law and their governing document
  • whether any conflicts of interest were properly identified and managed by the charity
  • the financial management of the charity, in particular whether it has sufficiently robust internal financial controls
  • whether there was any misconduct and/or mismanagement by the trustees

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