VEC inquiry underway into allegations of missing money

Longford VEC are investigating allegations surrounding the possible misappropriation of monies from a secondary school in Longford, the Leader can reveal.
Co Longford Vocational Education Committee has launched an investigation into the alleged misappropriation of funds from a third level course in a secondary school in Longford, the Leader understands.

Co Longford Vocational Education Committee has launched an investigation into the alleged misappropriation of funds from a third level course in a secondary school in Longford, the Leader understands.

The incident was flagged as a ‘matter under investigation’ at last week’s meeting of Longford VEC. The media was asked to leave the meeting when the issue came up for discussion.

However, it is understood that legal advice as to where the VEC stands in relation to the alleged fraud is presently being sought by its executive and 19 members.

It’s still unclear as to how much money has allegedly gone missing, although two separate sources this week confirmed money principally used to fund student college fees remains unaccounted for.

The Leader has also learned that the situation first came to light after a certified UK-based body raised doubts about the prospect of students being able to sit their exams.

“The course is accredited by a company in London,” a source confirmed, this week.

In the event of preventing such a scenario, the VEC are understood to have covered any outstanding monies owed as further investigations continue.

A second source backed up those claims over the weekend, stating the inquiry was very much concentrated on the alleged disappearance of “exam money”.

In an attempt to obtain further clarity, attempts to contact both the VEC and its national representative association, the IVEA (Irish Vocational Education Association) were made in recent days.

As VECs are statutory education authorities, an IVEA spokesperson directed the Leader back to the VEC for further comment.

An email was sent by this newspaper to acting chief executive Rosemary Johnston last Thursday afternoon but at the time of going to press yesterday (Tuesday) no official statement had been made.

A Department of Education spokesperson also declined to respond, stressing it was not standard practice to comment on individual cases.