Commission bars Tamil trustee over terror listing

A charity trustee has been permanently disqualified by the Charity Commission because he was named as a "designated person" by the Government under the provisions of a terrorism order.

Goldan Lambert was a trustee of the United Kingdom Tamil Students Union, which was registered as a charity last December and works to promote Tamil culture and improve the welfare of young or vulnerable people.

He was named in June as a designated person under the provisions of the Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2006, meaning that he either is or is in some way assisting a person who "commits, attempts to commit, participates in or facilitates the commission of acts of terrorism".

The regulator immediately suspended Lambert's trusteeship of UKTSU, whose annual income is less than £10,000, as a "temporary and protective measure". A subsequent inquiry found that he would be unable to carry out his duties as a trustee without committing a criminal offence, because designated persons have their assets frozen and are not allowed to deal with funds they ‘hold' - including funds held in trust.

It also deemed that there was a serious risk that the assets of the charity itself might be frozen because of its association with a designated person, and that there was a risk of the trustees committing offences if they permitted Lambert access to funds.

The commission learned that, in practice, Lambert had had no access to the charity's funds since he began discharging his trustee duties in October 2006. However, it said that such a failure amounted to administrative mismanagement by the charity.

It also found Lambert guilty of mismanagement for not resigning as a trustee over his failure to act in the interests of the charity. After failing to establish contact with him, the regulator permanently removed him as a trustee of UKTSU.

The commission cleared the charity of having any other links with terrorism. It reminded trustees that they have a duty to check that new trustees are not listed as designated persons on the HM Treasury website. However, it acknowledged that this was "a difficult area" and promised to produce guidance on designated persons and other issues relating to terrorism legislation "in due course".

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