Melbourne Charity to be Investigated

Melbourne Charity Investigated


The Age this weekend reported that Co.As.It. – Italian Assistance Association, an Italian cultural charity based in Carlton, will be one of the first organisations to be investigated by the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) over possible misuse of community funds. Fairfax Media this weekend accused Co.As.It of funnelling millions of dollars in funds, including several million in public donations, into another company, Italian Services Institute (ISI) Inc. Fairfax Media alleges many of the directors at Co.As.It also serve on the board of ISI, making up its membership of 11 and possibly serving to benefit from funds received from Co.As.It.


The ACNC has been commissioned with the role of investigating mismanagement of charitable organisations, in particular the misuse of donations, in a move to bring more accountability and transparency to the non-profit sector. If the ACNC moves to prosecute Co.As.It this will be the first time that it has used these powers since its establishment in December, 2012.


Fairfax Media previously reported on the story in December 2012 in relation to the launching of a police investigation into the organisation for inappropriate financial conduct after the organisation’s heated general meeting in November.


Co.As.It updated their website on the 27th of April with a statement denouncing the Fairfax Media story and describing it as “riddled with innuendo and notions of secrecy and lack of transparency”.


With board members possibly implicated in this scandal, this story has larger implications for the non-profit and governance worlds. This story is also an example of the ACNC flexing its muscles and demonstrating its readiness to monitor the non-profit sector and pursue allegations of poor governance or mismanagement.

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