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Tue 20th Jan 2015 - G1 Group repays £411,000 of training cash after irregularities
G1 Group repays £411,000 of training cash after irregularities: G1 Group, Scotland’s largest independent managed operator led by Stefan King, has admitted financial irregularities in respect of public money claimed for training and repaid a sum of £411,000, the Herald Scotland has reported. An investigation by funder Skills Development Scotland discovered large sums of money that had been incorrectly paid to G1’s training company. Alex Johnstone, Scottish Conservative MSP, told the newspaper: “This is a shocking revelation which begs more questions than it answers. How was this company able to make ineligible claims for public funding for so long? And, more worryingly, is this happening elsewhere? The Scottish Government and Skills Development Scotland need to assure the public that this outrageous episode is a one-off, and not something more endemic.” A spokesman for Skills Development Scotland (SDS) added: “A recent investigation into the G1 Group identified that they had made a total of £411,834 of incorrect claims. Following the investigation, during which time all contracts were suspended, SDS secured repayment of the entire £411,834. In line with SDS protocols, in the current financial year no contracts for new activity were awarded to the G1 Group. SDS has a robust compliance system in place to monitor training providers to ensure value for money for the public purse.” A spokesman for G1 told the Herald Scotland: “In early 2013, G1 fully co-operated with an investigation carried out by Skills Development Scotland. The outcome of this investigation showed that our training company, Host plc, had trained candidates in 2012 across Scotland and claimed funding from SDS when some of these candidates did not meet the criteria and therefore were ineligible for funding. The investigation highlighted some areas in which our business didn’t have full operational oversight which could allow for an environment for a rogue employee to operate without knowledge of senior management. As part of the conclusion of the investigation G1 Group Plc agreed to fully repay all monies wrongly claimed and have since continued to operate our training business in accordance to the recommended changes.” G1 Group reported pre-tax profit of £11,208,983 in the year to 31 March 2014, up from £10,874,798 the year before. Turnover grew to £67,352,319 from £66,317,891 the year before. Ebitda was up by £900,000 to £17,200,000. Chairman Brian McGhee reported in October that acquisition activity is now picking up for the company. In September 2014, the company bought four restaurants in St Andrew including the House Group’s Doll’s House, The Grill House and the Glass House – to add to its existing three there – plus a site in Stirling at a cost of “in excess of £2m”.

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