The decision by the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria (GOCMV) last Monday night to hold its annual general meeting on November 22 has triggered a dispute between the major factions on what information should be included in the Directors Report which will be presented at the annual general meeting.
The Directors Report includes the annual financial statements of the Community to its members.
The point of contention is whether the Directors Report should include a note about substantial payments made in the first two months of the current financial year.
In a draft Report prepared by the GOCMV Treasurer, Con Dikeos, reference was made in a note about payments in excess of $500,000 that were made in the current financial year to the Antipodes Festival and Alphington Grammar School.
According to Con Dikeos, this note was repalced by GOCMV President, Bill Papastergiadis with a general statement that indicates the Community’s continuing support for the Antipodes Festival and Alphington Grammar.
Mr Dikeos as well as GOCMV Vice-President and General Secretary, Eugenia Grammatikakis and Jenny Krasopoulakis insisted that the note should remain and have refused to sign the revised version of the Directors Report.
“Such transactions or events must be reported to the members,” Mr Dikeos said to Neos Kosmos English Edition (NKEE).
He argued that this is a requirement derived both by the Corporations Act and the relevant Accounting Standards.
“We as an organization need to make every reasonable effort to disclose all events and significant transactions that take place both pre and post the balancing date,” the GOCMV Treasurer stressed.
It should be noted that the balancing date is June 30.
“Ultimately we are entrusted by our members to provide all material information that we are aware of,” Mr Dikeos underscored. Mr Papastergiadis confirmed to NKEE that he omitted these expenditures from the final copy of the Directors Report.
The GOCMV President highlighted that one of the reasons was the fact that the Board had not been given ample opportunity to review Mr Dikeo’s full version of the Directors Report.
Mr Papastergiadis argued that Mr Dikeos did not present this during Monday’s meeting but rather submitted it on Tuesday morning which only gave him one hour to fully review it and sign off on it.
Mr Papastergiadis argued that the inclusion of these expenditures was “highly irregular because it’s the Audit Report for 2008-2009 and not for events afterwards,” and that the note in question did not include any income but only expenditures.
The GOCMV President said that he consequently called the Auditor of the Community to ask about this issue.
“He [the Auditor] said to me: ‘look Bill I spoke to Con [Dikeos] about this yesterday, I told Con that it was irregular, putting matters like that in there… and it’s incomplete if you’re going to be using only certain parts of the new financial year which have not been audited’”, Mr Papastergiadis said while recounting his conversation with the Community’s Auditor.
Mr Papastergiadis also alluded to the fact that there could be legal ramifications for Mr Dikeos for withholding information from the Board. “The simple fact of the matter is that it is a financial report for the financial year; a Directors Report goes with it; it’s petty politics to try and put in payments without income,” Mr Papastergiadis said.
According to national Accounting Standards and more specifically AASB 110 Events after the Balance Sheet Report the inclusion of these expenditures should have been tabled: “A non-adjustable event is one that arises after the reporting date for the first time. In other words, this event did not relate to a condition that existed at the reporting date. An entity shall not adjust the financial report in respect of these events. Instead, it is required to disclose details of these events as a Note in the financial report.”
NKEE can reveal that the GOCMV’s financial statements for the 2008 -2009 financial year will record the Community’s first loss in four year, which is estimated at $54,645.
NKEE understands that the loss can be attributed to a large extent to the operation of its sub-entity, namely the Antipodes Festival.
The GOCMV contribution to the Antipodes Festival in the last financial year $261,169.
This does not include an additional $60,000 by the GOCMV on the that occurred soon after the June 30 cut-off date.
Payments of $45,000 were made on July 27, 2009, $10,000 on August 14 for and six days later for $5,000.
The practice of the GOCMV subsidising the festival is not new and has been a common occurence.
Additionally, a further concern lies with the amount of the combined term deposit which was $2,106,329 at the beginning of the financial year and has now diminished to 1,974,281 as of June 30 2009 and in the previous 4 months has gone as low as 1,503,611.
The combined term deposit is the money that was given to GOCMV from the Greek government for the building of a multipurpose hall in Alphington Grammar.