Commission tackles rival trustee boards

The Charity Commission has stepped in to settle a dispute at a Muslim charity in Hertfordshire after disputed elections left two separate groups both claiming to be the organisation's board of trustees.

The regulator appointed an independent interim board to run the Stevenage Muslim Community Centre after a stalemate between the two groups developed, which could have resulted in the row being settled in court.

The commission launched an inquiry into the charity after the organisation failed to abide by a pledge that it made to the regulator in 2005 to hold elections run by the Electoral Reform Society to settle the dispute. The situation originally developed as a result of disputed elections in 2003.

The regulator stepped in after one of the groups contacted the commission in June 2006 to ask for leave to start court proceedings to settle the dispute.

The commission ruled that neither party could claim to be the rightful trustees as no elections had been held for more than two years. It has instructed the interim trustees to ensure a new election is held to appoint a legitimate board.

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