Regulator bans trustee of multiple inactive charities for ‘elaborate deceit’
22 Jul 2021 01:49 PM
The Charity Commission has uncovered a trustee who controlled multiple charities and misled the regulator about his identity
6 charities associated with him have been removed from the charity register, after the regulator found little to no evidence of charitable activity.
In an official report into 7 charities, the Commission concludes that Opas Tamba Jimmy-Kay – who used several aliases – is responsible for mismanagement and/or misconduct. He had links to all these charities and has been disqualified from trusteeship and senior charity management positions for 15 years – the longest term possible.
Kai Manyeh, a trustee at Hope Direct, was also disqualified for 5 years as a trustee for his role in the financial and governance failings.
The Commission opened a class inquiry into these connected charities in April 2019, after proactively identifying serious financial concerns and identifying Mr Jimmy-Kay and/or James Grantham (listed as separate people) were trustees of most of these charities.
The Commission met with Mr Jimmy-Kay and found he held two driving licences – one in his name and another under ‘James Grantham’. Addresses and dates of birth supplied for other listed trustees were also variations of Mr Jimmy-Kay’s own details, leading the Commission to conclude these people did not exist – especially when all attempts to contact these individuals failed.
The investigation into KDDA UK was concluded after the charity swiftly demonstrated that it was doing charitable work. Mr Jimmy-Kay subsequently resigned from its trustee board.
At the other charities, the Commission found little to no evidence that funds had been applied for charitable purposes and it was clear that false and misleading information had been submitted to the regulator (via accounts and annual returns) to give the impression that these charities were being well run. For example, details such as accounts being audited by an Independent Examiner and that the charities had an adequate number of trustees were not true.
Amy Spiller, Head of Investigations at the Charity Commission, said:
Mr Jimmy-Kay misled the Commission extensively about his identity and about the work of these charities. His behaviour was entirely at odds with what we expect from trustees and we’re glad, through proactive investigation, that we’ve uncovered his elaborate deceit.
Charities exist to do good and trustees should demonstrate the highest standards of behaviour and conduct. It’s right we have disqualified this individual for the longest time possible and removed his charities from the register. We hope this serves as a cautionary tale to others who might consider using charities for their own purposes.
Notes to Editors:
- The Charity Commission is the independent, non-ministerial government department that registers and regulates charities in England and Wales. Its purpose is to ensure charity can thrive and inspire trust so that people can improve lives and strengthen society.
- The 7 charities initially investigated were Kono District Development Association UK (KDDA UK) (1160673), Social Action and Poverty Alleviation (SAAPA) (1111959), ACT (Action for Community Transformation) (1174726), British Africa Connexions (“BAC”) (1171412), FAO (Friends of African Organisations) (1147157), Hope Direct (1114725) and IPAD (1131132). The charities were not connected by their charitable purposes or where they operated.
- KDDA UK was removed from the substantive phase of the inquiry, after the Commission determined that this charity was operating for the public benefit and took action to address concerns about its accounts.