New Zealand First has accused the Government of failing to carry out adequate background checks before funding the financially-troubled Te Roopu Whakaruruhau o Ngā Wahine Māori Women’s Refuge in Palmerston North.
Rt Hon Winston Peters says an audit carried out by chartered accountants Cotton Kelly raised a catalogue of concerns regarding the refuge which made a loss of $109,000 for the 30 June 2011 year.
“Under a section labelled ‘Fraud’ the auditors said they had identified what they called ‘unauthorised transactions’ and recommended the introduction of controls for the ‘prevention and detection of fraud’.”
Mr Peters says other serious issues identified by the auditors included the payment of bonuses and other personal costs such as fines, and the ineffective control over the employment of staff.
“The refuge had as at June 30 last year run up a $75,000 debt with the tax department for the non-payment of GST and PAYE.
“The auditors said factors such as negative equity and working capital, and ‘a payroll that is greater than annual income’, raised ‘concerns regarding the financial performance of the Roopu [refuge]’.
“It is blindingly obvious that background checks on the refuge were either not carried out or ignored before the Government approved funding to the refuge.”
Mr Peters says he will be raising other cases in Parliament.