Catholic Institute for Deaf People accused of ‘hidden’ wanton spending

The Catholic Institute for Deaf People (CIPD) has been accused of “hiding” the extent of wanton spending from its main funder, the HSE, in an internal audit which lays bare the huge amounts being splashed out by some senior personnel working there between 2012 and 2015.

The audit also showed, in 2015, the CIDP spent €412,311 on eight consultants.

The former CEO resigned on September 30, 2015, and told the audit his credit card had been handed back the day before, but thousands of euro was spent months later and in October that year, €1,639.60 was “incurred on the former CEO’s credit card in relation to his departure from CIDP”.

That spending included a bottle of Midleton whiskey for €155.

According to the audit: “There was no evidence of board approval for these transactions. The former CEO informed Internal Audit that he had no knowledge of this credit card being used for these purchases.”

Unreceipted spending flowed at the CIPD in those years, from two transactions for the Airport Driving School in November 2015 involving one employee, to €500 spent by another employee in the Odessa Club and Restaurant.

“Expenditure of €18,026 on restaurants was incurred on the former CEO and [chief operations officer] COO/head of finance credit cards,” it said, noting five transactions were in excess of €1,000 for meals at Trocadero and Captain Americas.

One retirement meal cost €703.55 at Trocadero, of which €252 was alcohol and a €60 tip.

Bonus payments made to the COO/head of finance were not processed through the payroll, and thereby not subject to USC and other levies, while “segregation of duties was seriously inadequate” at the organisation. At one point, a former COO received an €83,000 bonus.

The audit said CIDP’s control environment during the period 2012 to 2015 was “seriously deficient” and noted the selection of the COO/head of finance as managing director of The National Deaf Village Sports and Leisure Company Ltd had “significant potential for conflicts of interest”.

The CIPD’s own auditing functions were also deficient. According to the HSE: “The non-provision of CIDP audited annual financial statements or full consolidated accounts to the HSE, its major funder, appears to have been for the purpose of hiding the true financial situation from the HSE and for the purpose of promoting the best interest of CIDP to the detriment of the taxpayers.

"As a recipient of significant amounts of taxpayer’s funds, CIDP has a duty of candour to its funder, the HSE, to be open and transparent about the totality of its financial situation. This has not happened.”

Geraldine Tallon, who joined CIDP as chairwoman in April 2016, said the audit “highlights serious governance and financial control deficiencies in the organisation for the period under review”.

“All of us in CIDP are bitterly disappointed by the findings, but all issues identified have been addressed and will not recur.”

CIDP confirmed yesterday it had advised senior staff referenced in the audit report who are no longer employed there to clarify with Revenue there are no outstanding taxation issues.


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