Friday 28 July 2017

EXCLUSIVE: Auditors concerned about future of aid charity Goal

Celine Fitzgerald
Celine Fitzgerald
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Auditors have raised questions about the future of Irish foreign aid charity Goal, which has been rocked by an investigation into alleged fraud.

Independent.ie has learned funding for 2017 is expected to be just over half of the €210m the charity received from donors in 2015.

In a report released today on the charity’s financial statements for 2015, Deloitte said Goal was dependent on continued funding from donors.

“These conditions indicate the existence of a material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt over the company’s ability to continue as a going concern,” the auditor’s report stated.

However, it noted Goal’s board of directors was satisfied the accounts could be prepared on the basis the charity was a going concern.

Goal’s general manager Celine Fitzgerald sought to allay concerns about the future of the charity, but indicated it would be reducing the level of its operations.

Programmes in India, Nepal, Yemen and Ukraine are to close during 2017, while job losses are also on the cards.

“Our continued sustainability is entirely dependent on continued funding from donors. If anything were to happen in 2017 to affect that, there would be a risk around the organisation,” said Ms Fitzgerald.

“As long as donors continue to provide funding for our programmes, Goal is sustainable. I think the auditors and the board were satisfied that with all the information we have at this point in time that Goal is sustainable for the year, albeit at a smaller level.”

Goal announced last week it would be shedding 25 jobs, one fifth of its office operations in Dublin and London.

Last April, the organisation was rocked by news that the Office of the Inspector General in the US had launched an inquiry into allegations of bid-rigging by suppliers to Goal and other humanitarian organisations working in Turkey and Syria.

The probe is focussed on the activities of individuals on the ground and there is no suggestion of any involvement by senior management.

Two Turkish-born Goal staff were fired and a consultant also left the organisation after the probe was launched.

Goal and other agencies were ordered to halt procurement by USAid, the US government’s foreign aid arm.

The Irish Government’s foreign aid arm, Irish Aid, also decided to suspend around €7m in funding, but this suspension has since been lifted.

Goal chief executive Barry Andrews stepped down in the aftermath of the controversy, to be replaced by Ms Fitzgerald.

In his resignation statement, he said he believed Goal required a fresh start in terms of leadership.

The accounts also reveal the former head of Goal USA, Mark Bartolini, earned between €220,000 and €229,999 in 2015.

In comparison, Mr Andrews had an annual salary of €95,000 with a €20,000 pension contribution, while Ms Fitzgerald’s package is worth €100,000.

Mr Bartolini resigned last year and the US office was closed in October 2016 as part of the downsizing of the organisation.

Online Editors

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News