5th Muslim School faces freeze in state funding after allegations of multi-million funding fraud
I’m trying to imagine 5 Catholic schools, or state schools who’ve been accused of serious financial offences, like creating multi-million dollar false invoices. Five Muslim schools in two years, with the largest of them ordered to repay $9 million.
A MUSLIM school in Sydney’s southwest has been accused of serious financial mismanagement, becoming the fifth Islamic school in two years to potentially face a freeze in state funding.
Although the allegations have been put to police, no action has been taken by the NSW Education Department or Education Minister Adrian Piccoli, who has declined to reveal when he was first made aware of the claims.
Sam Cannavo resigned as principal late last month over the management of the 230-student school, making a formal complaint to police alleging that up to $2.1 million had gone missing from the school. Mr Cannavo has given police allegedly falsified building receipts with millions drawn on an account managed by a senior school official.
A builder hired by the school has also made a police complaint, alleging he was paid only half of the almost $5m the school had charged for projects at the school, alleging the school had charged millions in fake invoices.
In the past two years, The Australian has revealed four Islamic schools that have had state or federal funding frozen after allegations of financial irregularities.
Sydney’s largest Muslim school, Malek Fahd, has been ordered by the federal government to pay back $9 million after an investigation by The Australian revealed millions were funnelled from the school to the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils. The school’s funding has been released on the basis it pays back the money, and is challenging the ruling in court.
Despite the formal complaints to police about Bellfield and a police investigation, no action has been taken against the school by Mr Piccoli, the state or commonwealth education departments or the Association of Independent Schools, all of whom were made aware of the complaints.
It is understood there are concerns about being seen as "anti-Muslim".