The misfortune of TENI Ireland has been something of a regular feature in The Burkean the past year. Spearheading the way on the nation’s open-ended gender recognition laws, the charity has all the appearances of being on death’s door in light of recent events.
However, The Burkean can reveal today that TENI, for the third year running, has failed to properly file their annual financial accounts with the Companies Registration Office (CRO).
A major faux pas for any group, the fact TENI has failed to do this for the third year running indicates that this NGO is on the cusp of being wound up. The CRO confirmed yesterday that TENI had failed to meet the midnight deadline for the orderly filing of accounts. Meanwhile rumours are circulating of the imminent resignation of the NGOs chief Sara Phillips..
Experiencing 3 high profile resignations over a 24-hour period last month, TENI has found itself on the tail end of various irregularities that resulted in their funding being axed by the HSE this year for truant accounting.
With additional rumours circulating that philanthropic funds such as Rethink Ireland and the Sigrid Rausing Trust may pull funding the question, it must be asked if is it time to call the regulators in on TENI?
Registered rather interestingly as a private limited company rather than a specific charity, TENI’s arrangements means that it technically falls outside of the reach of the Charity Regulatory Authority (CRA).
Despite this through Freedom of Information requests The Burkean can also reveal that the CRO on various occasions found it ambiguous how TENI was able to accept donations while not being registered as a charity.
It is likely that TENI would not even be able register with the charity regulator due to the likelihood they wouldn’t meet its regulatory requirements.
While certainly not exclusive, the CRO could ruminate upon some of the following questions;
- Why are TENI staff with no apparent professional background in accounting employed in key financial positions for the charity?
- Why has a charity which has experienced repeated issues with filing their accounts not hired a suitable accountant even temporarily to complete their annual accounts on time?
- Should TENI be subjected to an external review of its corporate governance, followed by orders to hand their full accounts over to the CRA for examination?
- What legal and regulatory constraints are there in preventing TENI staff and associates making use of funding for their personal ends – did the years without auditable accounts present a window for funds to be misappropriated?
- TENI has stated that they have utilised the services of auditors in the preparation for financial statements in previous years, surely any rough management accounts produced by these auditors ought be sufficient to iron out any accounting issues?
- What reasonable excuse can TENI formulate for not presenting their audited accounts on time over 3 consecutive years?
- Did there exist excessive expenses for what appears to be personal use, and did this help to delay the presentation of their financial accounts in good order?
- Were staff members of TENI issued with corporate credit cards and if so what were the procedures for documenting these expenses?
- What procedures did TENI have for approving pay increases or even a payscale for staff?
- How does TENI explain its unusually low cash balance of 42k at the end of 2019?
- What is the opinion of the philanthropic group Rethink Ireland on the financial viability of TENI, will they continue to hold back funding and if so why?
- Did key members of the TENI board receive relocation or severance packages for their roles?
- How does TENI answer the allegations that staff were employed using non-existent job competencies for certain roles?
- What caused TENI to cease providing a breakdown of their financial backers in 2017? The Burkean previously delved into some of them using FOI requests with various state departments, but some ambiguity remains as to their exact backers.
- Why did TENI allegedly provide false assurances to the HSE that their accounts would be filed in time for the year 2019 according to email correspondence which has been released?
- In 2019 TENI was said to be hiring HR staff, why has this apparently not occurred?
- Does the rather unusual slew of resignations mask a certain disquiet within the organisation?
The Burkean is keen to stress that TENI remains in good standing with the law as well as the relevant authorities despite truancy in the filing of their accounts. However there appears to be more and more of an urgency for state regulators to look under the hood on the matter of an NGO which has effectively written pieces of legislation through their lobbying.
This article exists to ask questions rather than make accusations and questions are exactly what certain regulators need to be asking.
TENI did not respond to The Burkean’s request for comment.