Warne charity stumped by audit demand

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Australian watchdog Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) has ordered an independent inquiry into the affairs of a charity run by former international cricketer Shane Warne.

CAV ordered the audit after the Shane Warne Foundation did not lodge financial documents by a deadline towards the end of 2015.

“CAV subsequently made a number of requests for the required financial information however what was provided was not sufficient,” a spokesman told Fairfax Media.

“Because of this, on 24 December 2015 the director of CAV issued a formal request for an independent auditor’s report on its fundraising activities for the past three-and-a-half years.”

In a social media post Warne defended the charity, which holds charity sports and poker events to fundraise for sick and disadvantaged children, against “malicious attacks” and “false allegations”.

The latest developments come after allegations that the foundation attempted to block the release of documents showing that last year it had donated just 16 cents of every Australian dollar raised.

The former Australian cricketer admitted that the charity had been through “a couple of bad years”, but dismissed “incorrect journalist reporting” and stated that the charity had raised $7.8m and given away $3.6m, with a further half a million to be given away in the next few months.

CAV had begun to examine the charity late last year after discovering inconsistencies in its financial reporting, and initiated the investigation after the foundation failed to lodge an annual statement last October, as required by Australian law.

According to local publication the Age, Warne is weighing up whether to close the charity as a number of key sponsors of the charity have withdrawn their support.

However, Warne commented that the board “had not made any decision about the future of the foundation”. 

Acting for the charity, accounting firm SY Group confirmed that the foundation’s CEO Emma Coleman had resigned earlier in January after just two months in the role.

According to reports Coleman left the charity after concerns were raised about donor support and restructuring plans.

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