Probe into charity’s finances

Damien Harte Upper Bann.jpg
Damien Harte Upper Bann.jpg

A Lurgan-based charity is being investigated after serious concerns were raised about its financial affairs.

Growth for Adolescents & Providing Support (GAPS) is the subject of a probe by charities watchdog, the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland.

A spokesperson for the commission confirmed it opened a statutory inquiry into the charity in June this year.

The inquiry was extended in September to include the charitable company of the same name.

“The purpose of the inquiry was to investigate a number of serious concerns relating to the control of finance and governance,” the spokesperson said.

“The Commission was specifically looking at issues including financial mismanagement, poor governance (for example inaccurate record keeping/failure to retain records) and misappropriation of charitable funds.”

She added that, as part of the ongoing investigation, the commission issued an order in October “to remove Damien Harte as a charity trustee with immediate effect, due to mismanagement and misconduct”.

The commission also appointed, by order, Deloitte (NI) Limited as interim manager of the charity as a temporary and protective measure.

The spokesperson added, “The commission is aware that the interim manager has taken steps to close a number of local facilities which were being managed by the charity. This action was taken while the interim manager considered the financial viability of the charity to continue to operate and manage the facilities.

“The interim manager has concluded their analysis of the administration and finances of the charity. The charity is no longer operating.”

The commission’s role is to ensure charities are run properly.