Education board CEO to retire before investigation is completed

Audit flagged governance issues at Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board

Richard Bruton: he  has appointed an external investigator to examine the ETB’s functions into “public procurement, usage and disposal of assets and propriety matters”

Richard Bruton: he has appointed an external investigator to examine the ETB’s functions into “public procurement, usage and disposal of assets and propriety matters”

 

The chief executive of an education board which is being investigated following concerns over conflicts of interest has announced he will retire before the investigation is due to be completed.

Sean Ashe, chief executive of Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board (ETB), informed board members on Friday evening that he would step down from his position on December 31st .

On Wednesday the Department of Education announced it had commissioned its investigation following an audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) into the board’s accounts. It is due to be completed in the first quarter of 2018.

The C&AG had flagged issues relating to the delivery of building projects, rental properties and the use of a pool of vehicles.

The board, which has a turnover of €116 million, is responsible for running further education and training courses in both counties, as well as a number of primary and secondary schools.

In a statement the department said Minister for Education Richard Bruton has appointed an external investigator to examine the ETB’s functions into “public procurement, usage and disposal of assets and propriety matters”.

The investigator will be former president of Sligo Institute of Technology Richard Thorn.

In a statement released this week the board said it has co-operated fully with the C&AG and the department over recent months regarding the audit. It has said it will not comment further until the investigation is completed.

Correspondence

The department confirmed the action was taken following issues raised in an audit by the C&AG and subsequent correspondence between the department and the ETB.

Mr Thorn has been tasked with identifying any “lacunae, inconsistencies or insufficient clarity” in the responses provided by the ETB in relation to a number of issues.

They include the delegation of functions to ensure a conflict of interest did not occur regarding to procurement, asset disposal or leasing that concerned companies identified in the C&AG’s audit.

Another area of focus will be access and usage of an ETB-rented property by a company, including the origin of this arrangement, rent level, payments in respect of works carried out and the timeliness of invoicing for rent and utilities due.