Commission opens inquiry into development charity amid 'significant private benefit' concerns

Kenya Community Support Network has received the bulk of its funding from Comic Relief in recent years

The Charity Commission has opened an inquiry into an international development charity after concerns were raised that it was being used for "significant private benefit".

The regulator said today it had opened an inquiry into Kenya Community Support Network after receiving a complaint in October that raised concerns about the charity’s expenditure and whether it furthered the charity’s objects.

This led to a meeting between the commission and the charity, after which the regulator decided there were "strong indicators" that the charity was being used for private benefit.

The commission said it had concerns about mismanagement and misconduct in the administration of the charity and that the charity was not carrying out activities furthering its charitable objects for the public benefit.

The charity's entry on the Charity Commission’s website shows its income fell by more than 85 per cent between 31 March 2016 and 31 March 2017, with income reducing from £147,429 to £21,614.

Spending also fell between those same dates from £129,569 to £22,453, the Charity Commission website shows.

The charity’s most recent published accounts, which cover the year to 31 March 2016, show that Comic Relief was its biggest financial backer, having granted the charity £111,250 that year and £98,157 the year before.

KCSN was not required to file accounts for 2016/17 because its income was too low. 

The inquiry into the charity, which was opened on 22 January, will look at its financial management, the allegations of private benefit to the trustees and whether there has been mismanagement and/or misconduct, the regulator said. 

The charity’s bank account was also been frozen by the commission to protect its assets while the inquiry was under way, the commission said. 

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