Regulator undercovers ‘serious abuse of charity’ at Islamic Global Trust
Charity Commission finds funds were spent on gym membership, TV subscription and debts.
The Charity Commission has removed the trustees of Islamic Global Trust, after finding no evidence that it carried out any charitable activity and not being able to locate the trustees. The charity has also been removed from the register.
The Commission initiated a statutory inquiry after a local authority alerted it to concerns that the charity had incorrectly claimed business rates relief on property it rented, but where no charitable activity was being carried out.
Islamic Global Trust was set up to help people in need and advance education in the UK and Pakistan, but the inquiry’s wider investigation found no evidence to support funds being spent on this cause.
Commission analysis of the charity’s financial records, including annual returns and bank statements, revealed inconsistencies as well as evidence that charitable funds were misapplied.
Payments included monthly gym membership, £6,100 to a digital TV channel where one of the trustees was a director, £14,600 to two debt collection agencies, and payments to Companies House, despite the charity not being registered with that agency.
There were also unattributed payments of £10,000 from the charity’s account, and bank charges incurred where cheques could not be honoured due to insufficient funds.
The report also finds that the trustees failed to submit their charity’s annual accounts and returns in line with the law.
During the inquiry the trustees changed, and despite numerous efforts to locate the new trustees they could not be found. Two of the former trustees, in post at the outset of the inquiry, were also not locatable.
As the trustees could not be traced they were removed as trustees. The charity was taken off the register.
Amy Spiller, Head of Investigations Team at the Charity Commission yesterday said:
Charities hold special status in society and the public rightly have high expectations of those responsible for them. Trustees should be careful custodians of charity, acting in the public interest to further the charitable mission and purpose of their organisation.
The trustees of Islamic Global Trust failed in their duties. They used charitable funds for their own agendas, without regard for their charitable cause and the purposes for which money was donated. This was an abuse of charity and public trust.
A full report of the inquiry is available on GOV.UK.
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