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Regulator disqualifies charity trustee after speeches promoting religious violence

The Charity Commission has concluded that a former trustee of the Charr Yarr Welfare Foundation Limited was involved in extremist activity

The Charity Commission yesterday (9 April 2024) concluded its statutory inquiry Charr Yarr Welfare Foundation Limited.  

The charity was set up to promote education and the relief of poverty. It also provides funds to a non-profit organisation registered in Pakistan. 

In May 2020, the Commission opened an inquiry into the charity after it identified serious concerns about its governance and financial management.  

The inquiry was opened following a period of regulatory engagement with the charity’s then trustees, which included issuing the trustees with an Action Plan and an Official Warning which were not fully complied with.  

During the inquiry, investigators became aware of statements made by one of the charity’s trustees at the time, Mr Z Mashadi, in videos published online 

In these videos, Mr Z Mashadi was seen inciting religious violence, advocating the murder of blasphemers and denigrating specific Islamic faiths. The Commission considered these statements to be a consistent pattern of behaviour which met the government’s 2011 definition of extremism. This, in part, led to the Commission taking regulatory action to disqualify Mr Z Mashadi from his position as a trustee of the charity. 

The inquiry also found financial mismanagement, including that: 

  • former trustees were unable to explain why £1,400 of the charity’s funds had been transferred to one of the former trustees, Mr Z Mashadi. As a result of the inquiry, the funds were repaid to the charity.
  • former trustees were found to have accepted large donations and interest free loans without conducting any due diligence or maintaining records
  • former trustees failed to implement sufficient controls in respect of their management of the charity’s finances, including using personal bank accounts and cash couriering to transfer the charity’s funds to the non-profit organisation in Pakistan

The Commission used its powers to disqualify all three former trustees, Mr Z Mashadi, Mrs M Mosvi and Mr A Mashadi for 5 years, 2.5 years and 2.5 years respectively. 

Joshua Farbridge, Head of Compliance Visits and Inspections at the Commission, yesterday said:   

Mr Z Mashadi’s conduct made him entirely unfit to act as a trustee for a charity.  

We are very clear that where we uncover wrongdoing that harms an individual charity and diminishes the reputation of charity, we will be robust and tenacious in using our powers to secure the right outcomes to protect beneficiaries, charitable resources, staff, and donors.  

Encouragingly, the current trustees of the Charr Yarr Welfare Foundation have shown a willingness to take onboard regulatory advice and guidance provided by the Commission, and we continue to engage with them as is necessary. 

The full inquiry report can be read here.

Notes to editors 

  1. On 1 November 2018, the Charity Commission (the ‘Commission’) undertook a monitoring inspection at the Charity’s premises and met with one of the Charity’s then trustees. The Charity was proactively identified for an inspection due to its international operations in a high-risk area, namely Pakistan. Charities which operate internationally can be more vulnerable to abuse or harm because of where and how they operate.
  2. An Official Warning was issued to the Charity on 9 January 2020 under section 75A of the Act.
  3. On 19 May 2020, the Commission opened an Inquiry into the Charity in accordance with section 46 of the Act.
  4. On 23 June 2023, the Inquiry proceeded with the disqualification orders under section 181A of the Act. The disqualification orders took effect on 5 August 2023. Mr A Mashadi and Mrs Mosvi have both been disqualified for 2.5 years, while Mr Z Mashadi was disqualified for 5 years.Disqualification prevents the former trustees from being a charity trustee or trustee for a charity and holding an office or employment with senior management functions in any charity in England and Wales throughout the period of their disqualification.

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Original article link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/regulator-disqualifies-charity-trustee-after-speeches-promoting-religious-violence

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