The charity Bóthar has claimed before the High Court that its former CEO David Moloney has misappropriated hundreds of thousands of euro donated to it for his own and his associate’s personal use.
Last week Bóthar, whose activities including aiding poor farmers in developing nations through donations of livestock, secured a temporary High Court injunction freezing the assets of Mr Moloney, who resigned his post as the organisation’s CEO in February.
Last Thursday Ms Justice Nuala Bulter ordered that Mr Moloney not reduce his assets below a value of €465,000.
The court heard that Mr Moloney of Clino, Newport, Co Tipperary, denies all allegations of wrongdoing, and has protested his innocence.
Bóthar claims that an ongoing investigation into his conduct has revealed that he is “guilty of an egregious breach of trust and an appalling dereliction of his duty to Bóthar and the beneficiaries of its charitable objects”.
Mr Moloney has worked with Bóthar since 1995, and was its CEO for eight years
Frank Beatty SC, appearing with Frank Crean BL, for Bóthar said his client’s investigations to date have shown that at least €465,000 of monies donated to the charity have been misappropriated by Mr Moloney.
That figure could be higher, counsel added. Mr Moloney has worked with Bóthar since 1995, and was its CEO for eight years, counsel said.
Counsel said that arising out of its investigation, it is alleged that between 2013 and 2019 Mr Moloney withdrew €192,000 of money donated to Bóthar and said it was paid to a mission run by the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Sisters in Tanzania.
Bóthar has spoken with the sister in charge of that mission, who told it that the order never received any money from Mr Moloney or Bóthar.
Counsel said in order to conceal his wrongdoing, Mr Moloney had also contrived requests from the mission and forged receipts, purporting to vouch payment of those funds.
Bóthar believes the projects in Rwanda were falsified, and it does not know what was done with those funds
Counsel said that Mr Moloney arranged that Bóthar make three payments totalling €127,000 to a company called Agricultural Innovation Consultants Limited for services it provided in relation to purported projects in Rwanda.
The payments were not recorded in the accounts of that company, which was incorporated in 2018, and has since been dissolved.
Bóthar believes the projects in Rwanda were falsified, and it does not know what was done with those funds.
It is also alleged Mr Moloney used Bóthar’s money to pay for personal expenses, including family holidays, and that he awarded himself an unauthorised 13th monthly salary payment.
Counsel said that Bóthar is also probing a pension fund of over €600,000 accumulated by Mr Moloney.
Counsel said last year Bóthar began an internal investigation into various irregularities regarding how the charity was being run that were brought to its attention.
The Irish Charities Regulator also launched an investigation over concerns it has about Bóthar, counsel added.
Counsel said that as far as Bóthar is concerned, the resignation was an attempt to prevent various matters from being uncovered
Counsel said it is their case that Mr Moloney did not co-operate with the investigations regarding the alleged misconduct.
Arising out of his non-co-operation, he was suspended from his role as CEO last November, and resigned from his post in February.
Counsel said that as far as Bóthar is concerned, the resignation was an attempt to prevent various matters from being uncovered.
These include deleting vast swathes of data from the computer his employer had provided him with, and also forging documents to cover his tracks, counsel said.
He had also conspired with others to have a former chairperson of Bóthar’s board, Mr Harry Lawlor, removed from his position after an investigation into Mr Moloney’s conduct was raised, it is claimed.
In light of everything that has happened, and its decision to commence High Court proceedings, Bóthar has decided to cease all of its fundraising activities with immediate effect, counsel added.
The action will return before the High Court later this month.