Financial probe for student union
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The University of Western Australia Student Guild has dismissed a staff member over financial irregularities after bringing in forensic accountants from BDO to undertake a special analysis of its 2013 accounts.
Sources close to the student union claim BDO identified between $800,000 and $900,000 in financial irregularities, but the student union has not revealed the scale of the problem.
Business News understands that, in May, the guild’s council voted to engage a forensic accountant to examine the accounts before they were to be submitted to UWA’s senate.
The employee was dismissed a month later.
Employing 70 people and headed by managing director, Wayne Howells, the guild has more than 20,000 members and is central to the life of the Crawley campus. It runs various retail outlets and its representatives are involved in many aspects of the university’s administration.
UWA Student Guild president Tom Henderson confirmed that issues around the accounts had led to the departure of a staff member.
“During 2013, the guild identified irregularities in some financial transactions undertaken by one staff member,” Mr Henderson said.
“The guild takes this matter seriously and therefore engaged an external forensic accountant to conduct an investigation into the matter.
“Based on the initial findings of that investigation, the staff member has been dismissed for serious misconduct.
“As this situation involves a potential legal matter we are unable to provide any further comment at this time.”
Mr Henderson would not say if the matter would be referred to the police.
The guild’s 2013 budget forecast operating income of under $2.2 million.
The author of this article is a former president of the University of Western Australia Student Guild. He asked if he ought to disclose this prior to publication and I made the decision that I didn't feel it was relevant.
He held political office at the guild and this is not a political story. He is a full-time journalist and no longer has direct interest in the guild.