The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into a Sikh temple in west London because of concerns that include possible private benefit to a trustee.
The regulator announced today that it had started an inquiry into the Central Gurdwara (British Isles) London Khalsa Jatha, which operates a temple in Shepherd’s Bush and has objects including the advancement of the Sikh religion and the advancement of education and social welfare.
The commission said it first began looking into the charity in December 2012 after receiving complaints about financial irregularities and governance failures.
The regulator found that an ongoing dispute between the trustees had resulted in them not sharing financial and management information that was necessary to enable them to properly run the charity.
The commission said it gave the charity an action plan in February 2014, with which the charity failed to fully comply, and further concerns were raised about the management of properties owned and rented by the charity, including allegations that there had been private benefit to a trustee whose company was responsible for renovating the charity’s properties.
"It was not clear to the commission how the owning and renting of property was in furtherance of the charity’s purposes," the commission said in a statement.
The commission escalated the case to the status of a statutory inquiry because it said it was "concerned at the trustees’ apparent unwillingness to take the necessary action to protect the charity and remedy the regulatory concerns to the commission’s satisfaction".
It said the inquiry would look into matters including why trustees did not comply with the regulator’s action, the financial management of the charity and whether there had been any private benefit to a trustee and if any conflicts of interest had been properly managed.
On Wednesday morning, Rajinder Singh Bhasin, president of the charity, said he was unable to make any comment.
The charity, which says on its website that it is the oldest established place of Sikh worship in Europe, was established in 1908 and had an income of £171,780 in the year to the end of October 2014.