Where did the $30,000 go?

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

A $ 30,000 grant to the nowde­funct Mana Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre has fallen into a black hole.

The cen­tre, which folded in De­cem­ber, re­ceived a grant from Mana Com­mu­nity Grants Foun­da­tion in Septem­ber.

The foun­da­tion is await­ing a re­port from Depart­ment of In­ter­nal Af­fairs over the sit­u­a­tion.

Mana Com­mu­nity Grants Foun­da­tion chair­man Litea Ah Hoi said the sit­u­a­tion was ‘‘an­noy­ing’’.

‘‘The money was ap­proved. We handed it over. Ev­ery­thing seemed kosher and there was no talk of them [the ed­u­ca­tion cen­tre] clos­ing,’’ she said.

‘‘My an­noy­ance is over the fact they knew what was go­ing on and took the money. It’s $30,000 that could have gone some­where else in this com­mu­nity, but it’s gone into a dark hole.’’

Ah Hoi said she wanted the ed­u­ca­tion cen­tre board mem­bers to be held to ac­count.

‘‘They filled out an ap­pli­ca­tion know­ing full well what was go­ing to hap­pen. It’s a big loss when the amount we give out is shrink­ing.’’

In the year to March 31, 2014, the foun­da­tion, which gets its money from pokie ma­chines, handed out $1.88 mil­lion to com­mu­nity groups, sports clubs and schools.

Mana Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre pro­vided teacher re­sources and or­gan­ised ed­u­ca­tion cour­ses, but went into liq­ui­da­tion in De­cem­ber with debts of more than $100,000.

Mana Com­mu­nity Grants Foun­da­tion ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Lee Adam­son said she un­der­stood the ed­u­ca­tion cen­tre trust was able to use some of the $30,000 be­fore it went un­der.

The foun­da­tion was likely to write off most of the $ 30,000, Adam­son said.

It was the first in­stance of a foun­da­tion grant not be­ing used for what it was in­tended since it be­gan op­er­at­ing in 2002.

‘‘ We’re not sure how much [Mana Ed­u­ca­tion Trust] was able to spend,’’ Adam­son said. ‘‘ No money has been re­funded. The trustees are ab­so­lutely gut­ted.’’

Mana Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre’s for­mer di­rec­tor, An­gela Ryan, was un­will­ing to com­ment on the fi­nan­cial cir­cum­stances the trust found it­self in last year.

‘‘It was a very dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion,’’ she said. ‘‘It’s all been dealt with – DIA [ Depart­ment of In­ter­nal Af­fairs] has all the in­for­ma­tion.’’

Adam­son said in the year end­ing March 31, 2013, the grants foun­da­tion handed out nearly $2.1m. The re­duc­tion in gam­ing funds was an is­sue across the coun­try, she said.

An­noyed: Mana Com­mu­nity Grants Foun­da­tion chair­woman Litea Ah Hoi.

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