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RIBA investigating president over possible misuse of funds

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An inquiry launched on behalf of the RIBA will examine whether Alan Jones abused his position as its president or used RIBA funds to further an alleged extramarital affair

According to a story published in The Times on Saturday, Jones – who is married with two children and lives in Randalstown, County Antrim – feared a woman would reveal embarrassing details of their affair and agreed with the RIBA’s ruling council to stand down temporarily.

The AJ understands the institute has appointed external law firm Browne Jacobson to examine the matter.

As revealed last week, the RIBA, which is a charity, also informed the charities regulator about a ‘serious incident’ involving the president in line with the regulator’s guidance.

Jones had emailed members of RIBA Council last Tuesday (31 March) to say ‘a matter had arisen’ in his personal life that meant he could not carry on with his presidential duties at this time.

While the RIBA gave no details of what it described as a ‘confidential matter’, staff were told that Jones, who has only held his post for seven months, would not be contactable for the next ‘four to six weeks’. In the meantime, honorary secretary Kerr Robertson would oversee presidential duties.

The Charity Commission’s guidance says a serious incident constitutes an adverse event – whether actual or alleged – that results in or risks significant:

  • harm to a charity’s beneficiaries, staff, volunteers or others who come into contact with the charity through its work; 
  • loss of a charity’s money or assets;
  • damage to a charity’s property; or
  • harm to a charity’s work or reputation

In his email to council, Jones wrote: ‘I’m grateful for the strong support I have from my wife and family. I need to take some time out from my duties as president and would be grateful if everyone could respect our privacy.

‘I appreciate this comes at a time when there are extraordinary demands on everyone and I can only ask that you reinforce your support to our staff and senior officers during this period.’

Speaking on behalf of the RIBA today (6 April), Robertson said: ’Alan Jones has brought a matter to our attention which we are investigating. No complaint has been made. It wouldn’t be appropriate for the RIBA to comment further at this stage - we have an obligation to treat such matters fairly and confidentially.’

Alan Jones has been contacted for comment.

Click here to read the AJ’s interview from 25.09.19 - Alan Jones: the RIBA’s promo president 

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