Commission steps in after charity falsified official documents

The Charity Commission has frozen the bank accounts of a family support charity after it was found to have no valid trustees, and employees admitted falsifying minutes of annual general meetings.

Watford and District Gingerbread has also been instructed to remove the Gingerbread from its name after it was found to have used the title without approval from the national charity.

The commission launched an investigation into the organisation in April 2006 amid fears of a serious breakdown in governance and suspected theft of its property by insiders.

The inquiry report, published last week, revealed that minutes of the AGMs from 2004 and 2005, sent to the commission as a true record of the meeting, were, in fact, false. The regulator was unable to determine whether all gifts received by the charity had been used to further its objectives.

The charity, which provides support to lone parents, also had no formal financial controls in place and had an employee acting as a trustee.

“Trustees must be able to devote sufficient time to their duties to effectively monitor the actions of their senior employees,” the report says.

The commission has reported the false documents and claims of theft, but police have decided not to take further action at this time.

The regulator has now appointed two replacement trustees to oversee the running of the organisation.

Third Sector Online was unable to contact anyone from the charity for comment.

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