“No accounting for what charities ship overseas” – another major article on GIK, existence this time

The combined team of Center for Investigative Reporting, Tampa Bay Times, and CNN have another feature article on GIK, this time trying to substantiate shipments.

The article is No accounting for what charities ship overseas.

If you’ve been following the GIK issues, you’ll want to check out the article.

If you are a charity, might be worth figuring out how your organization and your GIK shipments would look if you received some really simple media inquiries, like ‘do your shipments really exist?’ or ‘what was in the container?’

If you are an auditor, you might want to read the article as an education about what might going on beyond the documents you vouched.

In 2010, fifteen charities shipped several dozen containers of meds valued at $40 million to one charity in Guatemala. CNN reporters had a difficult time finding the charity’s office. Customs documents in country indicate the charity received 700 shipments in 2010 and 500 in 2011. Current and former officials of the charity provided minimal information to the CNN staff.

The 15 charities in the US didn’t provide any documentation to the reporters.

One CPA is on record to talk about opinion shopping. The firm objected to booking meds at $120M. Highest value they could support was $2M. The charity found another more, umm, flexible firm. Name of the opinion-shopping charity is not mentioned.

Like I said, if you are an auditor of charities that book GIK, it would be a very wise thing to have all your staff read this article. Think about GIK issues as they look to other people.

Think about existence.

Think about valuation. Particularly considering the several comparisons in the article of these shipments to the amount of aid provided by the US government to the country and the amount of aid received in the country after the ’05 hurricane.

This discussion cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update. By the way, this has been a newsy day – this is my second time-sensitive update today.

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