Charity Commission publishes report on inquiry into Essex Islamic Trust

(Immediate Release - 15 February 2010)

 

 

 

 

The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has published a report on its inquiry into the Essex Islamic Trust, (previously registered charity no. 1043627). The investigation was opened as a result of concerns relating to the ownership of a property connected with the charity and to examine the charity’s management of conflicts of interest.

The Commission’s inquiry looked at a number of issues, including whether charity funds had been used to purchase property which was not registered in the charity’s name, whether there had been unauthorised trustee benefits, the management of conflicts of interest and the charity’s general and financial record-keeping.

The inquiry found no evidence that charity funds had been used to purchase property held by a trustee in a private capacity. However, it did find that by renting this property for the charity, the trustees had entered into an unauthorised transaction with one of their number, which meant that they received unauthorised benefits. In addition to this, because of the charity’s poor record-keeping, the trustees were unable to account with evidence for all of the charity’s financial transactions.

The inquiry found that there had been mismanagement in the charity’s administration and that the trustees had failed to act in its best interests. The trustees did not act collectively or share responsibility for the management and control of the administration of the charity. Because they were all members of the same family and decision-making was dominated by the Chair, it was found that there was no independence in the charity.

The inquiry made numerous attempts to work with the trustees to resolve the difficulties encountered within the charity. While the Commission was considering what action to take to strengthen governance arrangements for the future, the trustees dissolved the charity and consequently the Commission removed it from the Register of Charities.

The Commission’s report on the investigation provides wider lessons for the sector and highlights the importance of an effective, independent trustee body. It can be found on the Commission’s website.

PR 10/10

Ends.

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Notes to Editors

1. The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales. See www.charitycommission.gov.uk for further information or call our contact centre on 0845 300 0218.

2. Our mission is: to ensure charities’ legal compliance, enhance charities’ accountability, encourage charities’ effectiveness and impact and to promote the public interest in charity.

3. More information about the Charity Commission’s Compliance Division can be found in Charities Back on Track, a report on the themes and wider issues arising from the Commission’s compliance work. This can be found on the Commission’s website - www.charitycommission.gov.uk/investigations/backontrack.asp

4. According to the Register of Charities as at 12 November 2009, the date on which the charity was removed, the trustees of the Essex Islamic Trust were Kamal Siddiqui, Ruqaiyyah Siddiqui and Nahid Siddiqui. The charity’s last accounts were submitted to the Charity Commission in March 2008; these showed an income of £205.

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