Barry Andrews steps down as Goal CEO amid US probe into Syria operations

Former Fianna Fáil Minister Barry Andrews has stepped down as CEO of international aid charity Goal.

Barry Andrews steps down as Goal CEO amid US probe into Syria operations

Former Fianna Fáil Minister Barry Andrews has stepped down as CEO of international aid charity Goal.

The resignation comes as the charity faces an inquiry by one of its main funders USAID (US Agency for International Development).

USAID's Office of Inspector General (OIG) is conducting the investigation into Goal's operations in Syria. The charity has been accused of mismanagement of the supply chain on the Turkey-Syria border.

Last April, Goal and other charities were ordered to halt procurement using some US funds because USAID had started an investigation into alleged bribery and bid-rigging.

“The allegations, broadly speaking, relate to collusion between suppliers in relation to prices that are set," Mr Andrews (pictured) said in August.

“They relate to allegations concerning kickbacks received by staff...There are a range of issues arising here, some of which affect Goal but all of these I would hope we would get to the bottom of in the next couple of weeks.”

Goal began working in Syria in 2013. The USAID investigation resulted in about €6.2m being withheld from Goal.

In a statement this morning, Mr Andrews said: "It has become clear to me that Goal requires a fresh start in terms of leadership. To that end, I informed Goal's board of directors last August of my intention to step down as CEO as soon as a suitable replacement could be identified.

“The circumstances of the OIG investigation over the last seven months have been extremely uncomfortable for GOAL and we are working hard on correcting the weaknesses identified and providing all necessary assurances to our donors.

“I do not for one moment resent the robust oversight of our donor partners and if we are serious about retaining public trust and managing large sums of taxpayers’ money, then this type of oversight is not only to be expected, but to be welcomed.

“GOAL applies exacting standards to the management of its programmes and in my leadership role over the last few years I have endeavoured to apply those standards."

Goal chairperson Anne O’Leary said: "I want to thank Barry for the outstanding leadership he has provided to Goal over the last four years.

"He has also been an outstanding spokesperson for Goal on the national and international stage and in particular has been a courageous advocate on behalf of the people of Syria."

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