Charity Commission opens two statutory inquiries into Syria aid organisations

The regulator is investigating the alleged misuse of charitable funds by the charity Aid Convoy and whether Syria Aid should be registered as a charity

A child at the Atma refugee camp on the Turkish-Syrian border
A child at the Atma refugee camp on the Turkish-Syrian border

The Charity Commission has opened two separate statutory inquiries into organisations set up to help deliver aid to Syria.

The commission said in August that it was monitoring Aid Convoy and Syria Aid. It has announced today that it has opened statutory inquiries into both organisations.

It said it was looking into allegations of the misuse of charitable funds and mismanagement or misconduct by trustees at Aid Convoy.

The regulator said Syria Aid, which is not a registered charity, should be registered and the commission was examining whether the organisation had proper governance systems and financial controls in place. 

The commission said in the summer that it was aware of media reports about Aid Convoy, which describes itself as an international humanitarian organisation committed to assisting victims of disasters and wars. The reports said that money for an overseas mission had been seized by Kent Police at Dover. The regulator opened the statutory inquiry on 30 August.

"The commission’s inquiry into the charity is examining issues relating to the end use of charitable funds, and whether there has been any mismanagement or misconduct on behalf of the charity trustees," the regulator said.

A spokesman for Aid Convoy said: "We are fully cooperating with the commission. We will not be making any further statements until the commission has completed its inquiry."

Syria Aid, whose objects include the provision of humanitarian aid to those affected by the crisis in Syria, is not registered as a charity. The regulator said it was satisfied that the organisation was charitable and therefore should be registered, and that it had jurisdiction over the funds raised by the company.  

It said its inquiry into Syria Aid, which began on 20 December 2013, was to ensure that the charity was registered and had proper governance systems in place – in particular, a sufficient number of trustees to operate – and proper financial management arrangements.

The inquiry will also look into the charity's application of its funds.

Third Sector was unable to contact Syria Aid for comment.

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