THE possibility of raising a loan to discharge a liability to the Kilkenny and Carlow ETB was “not an option” for Waterford Area Partnership (WAP), as the company did not have the income to service the loan.
One of the WAP’s legacy issues recently flagged was that of a rental scheme involving education bodies in the South East. Arising from a historic scheme to circumvent rules for the funding of Local Training Initiatives, WAP has a liability for approximately €116,000 owed to both the KCETB and WWETB.
The CEO of WAP said it was not possible to get a loan to repay the liability because WAP did not have the income stream to service the loan.
Emails between Ms Martha Bolger, Director of Further Education and Training of the KCETB and Richard Grant, outgoing CEO of WAP, were seen by the Waterford News and Star under the Freedom of Information Act which stated that the liability to the KCETB amounts to over €20,000.
Ms Bolger asked WAP in both October and November to provide further information regarding the monies owed to KCETB by WAP.
“You stated that the amount of €20,640 charged by WAP in respect of rent pertaining to the moving on LTI at Ferrybank was not expended by WAP in line with the Agreement to Collaborate,” Ms Bolger said in a letter to Richard Grant in October.
Ms Bolger requested a detailed breakdown of how the amount of €20,640 was arrived at and the exact detail of the time frame involved, certification of the over-claim of €20,640 by WAP’s external auditor, and a certified copy of any related associated due diligence/investigation report into the issue.
At the time, WAP’s auditors were working on files to independently verify the amounts claimed.
In November, the outgoing CEO of WAP said options open to the company to discharge its liability to KCETB had been examined and that the rents reimbursed by KCETB amounted to €29,280. Rents reimbursed by FÁS and Solas amounted to €66,795.
In previous correspondence, WAP communicated that they would examine the possibility of raising a loan to discharge the liability, but in the correspondence to KCETB in November, outgoing CEO Richard Grant said: “Unfortunately I must now inform you that this is now not an option as WAP CLG does not have within its resources an income stream which could service this loan.”
Mr Grant said the maximum repayment WAP could afford to commit to was €2,500 per annum, an amount which would take WAP approximately 10 years to finish repaying.
Mr Grant explained that all WAP CLGs programs are funded through various state bodies and as such the expenditure is restricted to the terms and conditions of each funder.
“WAP CLG does not operate any income generating program at this time, which would allow it to commit to a repayment of a loan from a financial institution. The only restricted income that WAP CLG has as a resource is from a limited amount of administration charges, which are paid by some of its funders,” Mr Grant said.
“This resource is used to finance costs and budget overruns which are not reimbursable under the T&Cs of various programs,” he added.
The letter said WAP “fully acknowledged the seriousness of the situation” and Mr Grant said there was “regret” the company was not in a financial position to currently fully discharge the liability.
Ms Bolger followed up by reiterating her request for clarification on how the liability was calculated and the exact time frame involved. “The certification of the over-claim by the external auditor is still outstanding,” she said in December.
There was no further correspondence on the matter as Mr Grant then informed KCETB and WWETB of his intention to resign from the post of CEO of WAP in January, following the Crowe Report, which deemed WAP “not viable” and “at risk of collapse”.
The proposal to repay the funds owed to KCETB over a long period has not been agreed upon to date. Gardaí received a complaint last year about the scheme which they are now investigating, according to the Crowe Report.