Charity removed from register after misusing funds for personal payments

A charity has been removed from the Charity Commission’s register after an investigation by the regulator could find no evidence that the organisation had carried out any charitable activity.

An investigation into the Islamic Global Trust showed that funds supposedly collected by the charity to advance education in the UK and Pakistan were actually spent on items including gym membership.

Among other personal payments were £6,100 to a digital TV channel where one of the charity’s trustees was a director, £14,600 paid to two debt collection agencies; and payments to Companies House, despite the charity not being registered there.

The commission initiated a statutory inquiry in 2013 after a local authority reported that Islamic Global Trust had claimed business rates relief on property where no charitable activity was being undertaken.

Analysis of the charity’s financial records, including annual returns and bank statements has since revealed the misuse of charitable funds. In addition to the items listed above there were also unattributed payments of £10,000 from the charity’s account. The trustees had also failed to submit annual accounts and returns in accordance with legal requirements.

During the inquiry, the trustees changed and the commission has been unable to locate either the new trustees or two of the former trustees who were in post at the start of the inquiry.

Social media activity associated with the charity stopped during 2013 and its website was closed in 2015.

Charity Commission head of the investigations team Amy Spiller 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 can be downloaded here.

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