Wales politics

Awema race charity's government debts mostly written off

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Media captionSir Derek Jones says Awema left a 'substantial loss to the public purse'

Nearly £300,000 owed by a defunct race equality charity to the Welsh government has been written off, AMs have been told.

Swansea-based Awema was wound up in February 2012 when public funding ended amid claims of financial mismanagement.

Its chief executive Naz Malik was cleared of fraud in 2014 after a trial.

Welsh government permanent secretary Sir Derek Jones told the public accounts committee Awema's debt was a "substantial loss to the public purse".

He said money could be saved in future if organisations were wound up more quickly.

"All the time a liquidation or administration is going on, professional fees are being paid from what remains from the company's or charity's assets," Sir Derek said.

"Shortening that period of time would protect some of the money."

The Welsh government confirmed that the sum it lost with the collapse of Awema was just over £282,000.

Analysis by Nick Servini, BBC Wales political editor

This is the final chapter in the ignominious story of Awema.

The reputational legacy damage for black and ethnic minority charities is still being felt in Wales by many of those running organisations now.

The £300,000 loss is obviously significant but, in a way, the more important point is that events at the charity focused minds in improving the way that grants totalling £300m a year are awarded by the Welsh government.

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