There is no evidence that aid charity used illegal immigrants as fundraisers, regulator says

The Charity Commission publishes its case report on the Bradford-based charity Bait-Ul-Mall

The Charity Commission consulted the UK Border Agency over a charity’s alleged use of illegal immigrants
The Charity Commission consulted the UK Border Agency over a charity’s alleged use of illegal immigrants

The Charity Commission says it has found no evidence to substantiate allegations that a Bradford-based charity providing aid to Pakistan used illegal immigrants as fundraisers.

Today the regulator published a report on the case it opened after receiving complaints in April 2014 about Bait-Ul-Mall, which has the objects of advancing the education of children, in particular orphans, and relieving sickness in Pakistan and other countries.

The charity registered with the commission in June 2010. Its entry on the register of charities shows it had income of £22,366 for the year to 15 August 2013.

The commission’s report says: "We received complaints about the charity’s fundraising and about the way the charity’s funds were being applied. It was alleged that funds were benefiting the trustees, rather than being applied for charitable purposes. It was also alleged that the charity used illegal immigrants to collect funds on its behalf."

The report says the commission spoke to the UK Border Agency about this matter, but says: "We found no evidence that the charity exploited vulnerable groups or used illegal immigrants to collect funds."

According to the report, the commission also found that although the charity had properly applied for licences to raise funds, it had on at least one occasion failed to prepare and submit the necessary financial returns to a local authority that issued it a licence.

It also found that because money was being collected in cash and held at trustees’ homes it was not being reported in the charity’s annual accounts, which meant that the accounts "were not sufficiently detailed for the public or the regulator to get a sound understanding of the activities of the charity".

But the report adds: "There was no evidence that this was inappropriate. It was clear from the records that the charity was making payments to Pakistan and that the charitable school had received those funds."

As a result of the commission’s case, which closed on 4 June this year, the charity’s trustees have prepared new accounts for the years ending August 2012 and August 2013, accepted the need for a more robust procedure for handling cash and passing funds to Pakistan, and amended anomalies in the charity's governing document relating to such issues as trustee benefits, which came about from the charity incorrectly filling out a model governing document.

"The charity will be monitored to ensure that the improvements are maintained," the report says.

The charity was not immediately able to comment.

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