The Finance Ministry said today that it welcomes the conclusions of the Report  prepared by the Auditor General and presented to the Speaker “which confirm the Ministry’s concerns regarding significant over-spending and rampant lack of good governance in how the Fund was administered.”
“The NAO’s report concluded that the commitments entered into by the previous administration will mean that new Good Causes Fund applications for grants will not be able to be financed before the end of 2014,” the Ministry said.
“The report’s findings confirm the Ministry’s fears that the previous administration hived off over €3 million worth of Good Causes Fund in a pre-election spree,” said Finance Minister Prof. Edward Scicluna.
“It is shocking how the previous administration felt comfortable not only entering into financing commitments which would extend into the following administration and therefore beyond their political mandate, but also went as far as to over-commit the entirety of the Fund for the subsequent two years,” Prof. Scicluna added.
The Report was commissioned by Finance Minister Prof. Edward Scicluna on the basis of concerns regarding how the fund was previously managed – particularly the manner in which commitments were entered into.
The Ministry said that the “report found, among other shortcomings, that the Good Causes Fund Committee was bypassed in several instances, with letters of endorsement being issued by the Minister without the requests for grants being first evaluated by the Committee.”
The Ministry acknowledges the various recommendations put forward by NAO directed at addressing the shortcomings identified, and said it will be considering them with a view to ensure that the administration of the Good Causes Fund adheres to the principles of good governance.
The NLGCF was set up under the Lotteries and Other Games Act (2008, Cap 438) and is intended to support and partially fund projects and initiatives of a philanthropic, cultural, sports, educational, social, religious or civic nature, or other deserving causes, proposed by individuals and non-governmental organisations.
An Advisory Board is appointed to administer the Fund which generates its income through a percentage contributed from tax payable on gaming activity, unclaimed prizes and interest earned on its account. The average annual income of NLGCF amounts to approximately €1.7 million.