MANAGEMENT and co-ordination of grant funding to a Welsh charity by the Welsh Government was “often weak”, a Wales Audit Office report has concluded.

And it is likely that most of the £545,966 owed by Awema (the All-Wales Ethnic Minority Association) to the Welsh Government will not be recovered.

Awema hit the headlines late last year when its finance director raised concerns about what the WAO report calls “governance, financial management, staffing and human resource matters, and potential criminal activities” and the way Awema was dealing with these issues.

Welsh Government funding to Awema totalled £7.15 million over 12 years, with a further £3m committed in principle, but funding was withdrawn last February.

Following a lengthy investigation, assistant auditor general Anthony Barrett concluded: “The Welsh Government’s management and co-ordination of its grant funding to Awema was often weak, and its responses to historical concerns about AWEMA were too narrowly focused.

“By contrast, the Welsh Government responded robustly to the concerns that emerged about Awema in December 2011, but dealing with the consequences has been time-consuming.”

The report concludes that there was no evidence of inappropriate political influence by current or former ministers or AMs. But there is concern about the Welsh Government’s overall management of grant funding, and “the full basis of some funding decisions is unclear.”