The Victorian and Commonwealth Consumer Affairs offices have cleared The Shane Warne Foundation of any financial irregularities after an 11-month investigation.
Simon Cohen, Director of Consumer Affairs, Victoria, released a statement advising the public of the findings of their extensive review of the fundraiser as well as thanking them for their full cooperation.
The Director only raised two points of conjecture brought to light during the investigation. The first was a minor infringement – late reporting of an annual return in 2015. The second – and primary reason Cohen wrote to the fund suggesting he may deregister them – had to do with the “low proportion of funds raised that were distributed to beneficiaries in recent years”.
Cohen did not stipulate how much the fund was earning or how much was being sent to those in need, but media reports suggested at the time of the initial investigation that only 16 cents of the dollar were going to the needy.
Warne and his team registered the fund under the Fundraising Act 1998 (the Act) in 2005, and up until 2010 annual reports showed evidence of a 70% distribution of funds collected through fundraisers. These figures dwindled because expenses had grown disproportionally at the same time. Cohen did not reveal what these costs were.
The Shane Warne Foundation is Pleased With the Result
Shane Warne and his Foundation were delighted with the news of the inquiry, as was Piers Morgan.
BOOM! Vindication at last. Thrilled for you mate & honoured to have helped work with you & the Foundation over the years. ✔✔ https://t.co/xyJiNbCGJl
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) January 11, 2017
In a public response published on Warne’s Facebook Page, his Foundation stated that the investigation brings to an end the ‘unwarranted and unfair speculation surrounding the Foundation’s affairs which have played out in the media for the last year.’
Speaking in January 2016, Warne called the media attention ‘malicious,’ vowed they would be cleared of any wrongdoing, and had ‘nothing to hide.’
“Importantly, the inquiries have not otherwise found evidence of unlawful conduct or a failure on the part of the Foundation to give the net proceeds of appeals to named beneficiaries.” Wrote Cohen.
Cohen also went on to say that The Fundraising Guidelines clearly shows when a fundraiser fails to distribute more than 35% of funds to beneficiaries then they will be required to prove why they should be considered for registration.
The Shane Warne Foundation decided to close shop in Jan 2016, and will now wind down for good, after the 11-month investigation has ended, but not before reminding people that they have raised $4m for charities, children and families during their time in business.