MELBOURNE, Australia – World Vision charity, one of the biggest charities in Australia, is implicated with allegations of nepotism and corruption.
The charity is facing a corruption scandal worth around several millions of dollars involving a free holiday in Bali, AFL superstars, nepotism, and alleged kickbacks in profits for their money-spinning printing contracts.
World Vision is one of the largest charities in the country and is well-known for its campaigns on child sponsorships and its massive endorsements from high profile celebrities. However, leaked emails and invoices are suggesting that the donations that the humanitarian behemoth received from its Australian patrons have helped fund the contacts with a printing firm. Furthermore, the said printing group made payments to the father of an executive in the charity, all in secret. Citing, World Vision is a massive user of printing materials, which they often use to communicate with their donors.
The recent revelation of what is happening behind closed doors came about following the resignation of Claire Rogers as the chief executive officer of World Vision Australia on Sunday. From her statement, the ex-executive cited personal and family reasons for her departure.
Later, the World Vision organization, including its chairman, denied that the recent resignation of its CEO is because of the news about the suspected corruption scandal. However, her announcement to leave the office came about before its planned schedule on Wednesday. Meanwhile, from the evidence, there is no suggestion that the previous CEO was involved in anything regarding the scandal.
On the other hand, the other name dragged in the corruption scandal is the Dockland printing group. A wealthy businessman in the printing industry, Brett Chalmers, along with former AFL superstars Craig Bradley and Stephen Kernahan, runs the company. Based on the leaked emails, both Mr. Chalmers and Mr. Kernahan know about the demands and the secret payments. It also revealed that Mr. Chalmers was the one to arrange the free holiday trip to Bali ahead of the awarding of the contract from the World Vision organization. Further, the leaked emails also showed te regular payments made to Glenn Kuramoto, who is the father of an executive at the organization.
Furthermore, on Friday, Gordon Allison, the chief financial officer of World Vision, said that the organizations are profoundly concerned about the accusations of inappropriate conduct. He also stated that they have called in the assistance of Victoria Police and auditors at KPMG to take on a formal and independent investigation to address the matter.
Mr. Allison added that World Vision Australia also engaged in a workplace investigation as well as a mediation service of iHR Australia to help undertake an inquiry about the role of their staff members regarding the allegations. He also stated that they had notified the Not-for-profits Commission and the Australian Commission about the matter.
Mr. Allison continued saying that the organization suspended the staff members whose names were involved in the allegations, albeit temporarily, as they wait for the findings of the investigation.
Based on some investigation about the matter, the executive at the charity Zane Kuramoto, now suspended, recommended for the charity to get his father as the adviser to help oversee the contracts worth $2.5 million with the printing group in 2013.
Meanwhile, Dean Mills, the former manager for the organization, said that the decision to employ the former executive’s father was because Mr. Zane said his father has been working in the industry for several years, noting that Zane Kuramoto also supervised that area.
Zane Kuramoto has been running the marketing department of World Vision charity, making him one of the familiar faces as the organization seeks donors to help with responding in humanitarian efforts they champion. Recently, Mr. Kuramoto became the global director of content.
Meanwhile, following his hiring in the organization, the older Mr. Kuramoto entered a deal in partnership with the Docklands printing group. Based on reports, the printing group will receive the lucrative agreement with World Vision, but it comes at a price like a free trip to Bali for Glenn Kuramoto. Following the awarding of the contract to Docklands, they allegedly started receiving monthly payment demands to Mr. Kuramoto senior.
Based on the leaked emails from both parties, it shows that the older Kuramoto is receiving around $3,000 per month for over a couple of years. Meanwhile, his World Vision executive son extended the contracts with the printing group during the duration. However, based on the evidence that came out, it suggests that the younger Kuramoto didn’t know or was never a part of his father’s ploy.
Last week, Zane Kuramoto said in his statement that he is confident that the investigation will clear his name of the offense. However, he declined to answer any further inquiries, especially about the appropriateness of his father getting a job with the charity.
Back in December 2018, the charities transferred their printing contract to Waratah Group, which is owned by the group of Mr. Charmers and Mr. Kernahan as well. However, in late 2019, the company collapsed, owing millions of dollars from its staff, creditors, and the tax office.
With this, the organization transferred the printing contract to another company again, the Finsbury Green. However, the three companies have a thing in common, as Finsbury also employs both Mr. Chalmers and Mr. Kernahan.
Before the former ANZ Bank executive, Ms. Rogers, took over the CEO position at the NGO, Tim Costello headed World Vision Australia. During her appointment at the organization, Ms. Rogers promised to bring one of the biggest humanitarian agency in Australia to the 21st century.
This corruption scandal is, by far, the biggest to rock the World Vision Australia. It will also likely affect the entire charity sector in the country and the federal government, which finances the charity along with a lot of Aussies.
The corruption scandal came about from dozens of leaked files and emails sent from the Gmail account of Glenn Kuramoto, with it addressed to Mr. Chalmers. Furthermore, invoices and testimonies from an insider suggest about the $3,000 monthly payments made to Mr. Kuramoto senior for a couple of years.
Meanwhile, Mr. Chalmers rejected any misconduct about giving a free Bali trip to Glenn Kuramoto. He said it was delivered even before the tender process of the printing contract. Mr. Kuramoto senior also declined to comment when asked about the corruption with the contract process for the World Vision charity.