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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 October, 2003, 07:11 GMT 08:11 UK
Warning of more charity scandals
Cash
Professor McVie said there are untrustworthy organisations
Further cases of fraudulent or mismanaged charities will emerge in Scotland, according to the former head of a major cancer charity.

Professor Gordon McVie, who has been chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said people within the charity world know which organisations are suspect.

And he warned that Scotland is seen as an easy touch when it comes to avoiding scrutiny.

Prof McVie's comments follow the suspension of directors of children's cancer charity Moonbeams over allegations of massive financial mismanagement and the suspension of Breast Cancer Research (Scotland).

People in the charity sector know very well who is fraudulent and who is dodgy and who is incompetent
Prof Gordon McVie

Moonbeams, which sells sweets for charity in shops and pubs, faces misconduct investigations, while Breast Cancer Scotland had its assets frozen over claims only a fraction of money raised went to charitable causes.

"Sadly the reputation that Scotland has got is that there isn't yet a charity commission functioning," he told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme.

"Charity money is public money and I believe that folk on the street have got every right to know that if they are giving money to a children's cancer charity then it is going to children.

"There is no question there are more cases.

"People in the charity sector know very well who is fraudulent and who is dodgy and who is incompetent, because you get a bit of everything.

Legislation call

"The question is how do you root them out and how do you reassure people that this is a bona fide business?"

Prof McVie said that out of all the organisations in Scotland there were "tens" that he would not trust.

He said it was easier to establish a bogus charity than a bogus business and that the running of charities had to become completely transparent.

Meanwhile, there are further calls for the Scottish Executive to speed up the legislation to control charities.

We will do everything possible to do this as quickly as possible but it needs to be the correct legislation if we are to reassure people and give them back confidence
Mary Mulligan
Deputy communities minister
The Scottish National Party's Shona Robison will be writing to Minister for Communities Margaret Curran warning that parliament cannot afford to wait any longer.

Ministers last month promised to set up an Office of Scottish Charities Regulator (OSCR), with powers to grant charitable status and to investigate and take action in cases of mismanagement and misconduct, later this year.

But the OSCR will not be able to use its full statutory powers - until the legislation is in place, and the draft bill is not expected before Spring 2004.

Deputy Communities Minister Mary Mulligan insisted the executive wanted to act quickly but that the legislation had to be right.

"We will do everything possible to do this as quickly as possible but it needs to be the correct legislation if we are to reassure people and give them back confidence.

"We want to put in place the best legislation, however we will need to keep that under review if people are keen to defraud the system.

"We will need to keep analysing what actions they take."


SEE ALSO:
Charity directors suspended
14 Oct 03  |  Scotland
MSP seeks charity changes
30 May 03  |  Scotland
Charity regulation 'not enough'
29 May 03  |  Scotland
Charity fundraiser in liquidation
06 Jun 03  |  Scotland
Pledge on charities watchdog
28 May 03  |  Scotland


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