Jailed director of Positive Action charity was ‘brilliant’

The woman jailed last year for stealing €116,000 from a charity set up to support women with hepatitis C was considered “brilliant” by some of her peers, and the only one with book-keeping experience.

Jailed director of Positive Action charity was ‘brilliant’

One executive committee member/director of Positive Action told HSE internal auditors that “If she [Detta Warnock] was in this office and someone asked for something, they would have it as fast as they asked for it. That’s how efficient she was. She’d knock you out with science; she’d have figures all over the desk.”

The audit of the books and records of Positive Action Ltd for 2009-12 recorded 94 serious irregularities totalling €152,146.83. Records indicated that the irregularities related to one executive committee member/director — Ms Warnock.

Audit reports released yesterday by the HSE under the Freedom of Information Act, show that directors of the charity became concerned at the use of funds.

One director said that, after being voted on to the executive committee in 2008, she “soon learned that one director liked control and seemed to dominate the committee and appeared to have all the control”. She said she raised concerns but that some committee members took umbrage and “made it very difficult for me”. Another director who raised concerns said: “I was made to feel I was the guilty one.”

The audit found there were no internal controls over the issuing and signing of cheques. In the majority of cases, the actual cashed cheques were made out to cash or to Warnock or a member of her family.

A separate audit of Positive Action found it was a charity where “control over expenditure was non-existent” .

Between 2005 and 2013 Positive Action received €4.7m in funding from the HSE. It was closed down in 2014 following the HSE audit.

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