A Larnaca-based children’s charity is under investigation by police for the alleged misuse of financial donations, it was reported on Wednesday.
The discrepancies reportedly emerged in 2012 following a check of the charity’s books by the Audit Office.
According to media reports, the audit had revealed that the foundation did not keep accounting books, nor was it in a position to present data as to exactly how many of its charity magazines it had sold.
The latest developments follow a question put by Greens’ MP Giorgos Perdikis who had recently asked Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos for a progress report on the case.
According to the written answer Hasikos sent to Perdikis, the organisation in question – The Pancyprian Foundation of Affection and Love to Children – that sells magazines and calendars is now under police investigation as it appears proceeds were not used for the charity’s stated purposes.
“Police are promoting the prosecution of the institution in question,” the letter said for conspiracy to commit a felony, conspiracy to fraud, extortion under false pretences and offences relating to preventing and combating money laundering.
He added that the attorney-general has requested information from the police to look into the possibility of shutting down the charity for breaking the Associations and Institutions Law.
The foundation, state broadcaster CyBC reported, was using the names of registered charity organisations to convince people buy their publications. Members of the charity would usually sell the magazines at traffic lights in all towns.
It added that the Pancyprian Association for the protection of Cerebral Palsy and Disabled Children had recently reported that the organisation had been using their name – without them knowing – to promote calendars.
The charity organisation took advantage of a gap in the legislation, as although the law obliges foundations to submit annual accounts to the registrar of societies and foundations, there is no penalty for failing to comply.
Police urged members of the public on Tuesday to be vigilant of bogus charities and professional beggars that have increased operations ahead of the Christmas season.
Volunteerism commissioner Yiannis Yiannaki said that members of the public should, before donating money to fundraisers, ask to see their licence. When such documents are not available, he said, members of the public are urged to report such cases to help reduce illegal fundraising.