Fake gun and a wooden chest full of cash: Is this the strangest Charity Commission investigation yet?

The Charity Commission has acted after two former charity trustees, including a safeguarding lead and a headteacher, were involved in an altercation involving a fake gun at the faith school they were involved in running.

It then emerged that hundreds of thousands of pounds in cash was being kept in a wooden chest on the charity's premises.

The details have been revealed during a Charity Commission inquiry into London charity Darul Uloom School.

The investigation was initiated after police arrested the charity’s former designated safeguarding lead and teacher Yusuf Musa in 2018, following an altercation involving a fake firearm at the school involving two people not linked to the charity.

After the incident Yusuf Musa was charged with possessing an imitation firearm “with intent to cause fear” but the Crown Prosecutive Service decided to offer no evidence at the trial, which did not proceed, says the Charity Commission

Meanwhile, Yusuf's father and fellow trustee Mustafa Musa, who was headteacher at the Islamic school at the time, was also arrested following the incident but no further action was taken.

Following the incident involving the fake firearm, police searched the charity’s premises and seized more than £400,000 in cash that was found in a wooden chest.

Both Yusuf Musa and his father have been disqualified from charity leadership roles for five years after the Charity Commission’s inquiry found that they had “failed to comply with their trustee duties and were responsible for series mismanagement and/or misconduct”.

They had placed the charity’s money, beneficiaries, and property “at significant risk”, the regulator found.

“The public rightly expect high standards of governance and integrity from charity trustees,” said Tim Hopkins, the Charity Commission’s assistant director of investigations and inquires.

“Unfortunately, our inquiry has found the former trustees of Darul-Uloom School London did not meet those standards.

“Our inquiry has taken robust action to address wrongdoing and harm, including in disqualifying two former trustees. I hope that the current trustees learn the lessons from what has happened and ensure that the charity is more securely and effectively managed so it can deliver the best possible services for its beneficiaries.”

The Charity Commission notes improvements have since been made at the charity, including an inspection by education watchdog Ofsted last year finding that the school met all its standards.

“Similarly, the trustees demonstrated improved internal financial controls, including moving away from a heavy reliance on the use of cash,” added the Commission.

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