Commission rejects Birmingham-based charity's claim that it lost all its documents in the Grenfell fire

The Charity Commission has disqualified a trustee of a now-defunct Birmingham-based charity that claimed it lost all of its financial records in the Grenfell Tower disaster in London. 

A report published by the regulator setting out its findings in relation to its inquiry into The Voice Of Truth, which had objects of promoting the benefit of the Muslim community in Birmingham and the West Midlands, concluded there had been misconduct and/or mismanagement in the running of the charity. 

The regulator said it opened an inquiry into the charity in October 2017 after it became aware of irregularities relating to Gift Aid claims it had made. 

The charity had an income of £165,948 according to its most-recent set of accounts, for the year to the end of March 2016. 

The regulator’s report says the inquiry found TVOT had insufficient accounting records, such as receipts or invoices, which was a breach of the charity’s legal duties. 

“The inquiry also found no evidence to support the explanation that all TVOT’s records had been destroyed in the Grenfell Tower fire and insufficient justification as to why these documents were not held at, or near, TVOT’s address in Birmingham,” the report says. 

The regulator found that the named contact for the charity and the person said to have submitted its annual returns in 2011 and 2012 “had no knowledge of the charity and was not, and never had been, involved in the administration of TVOT”.

It also found that more than £80,000 was paid to one of the trustees, identified by the regulator only as Trustee A, over an almost three-year period “without proper authorisation”. 

The regulator concluded there had been misconduct and/or mismanagement in the administration of TVOT, including a failure to keep sufficient accounting records and possible instances of the charity supplying false or misleading information to the commission. 

The charity was removed from the register of charities in January 2018 and Trustee A had been disqualified for 10 years because of his conduct, the regulator said. 

It said an appeal by Trustee A against the disqualification order, which was made in November 2019, was rejected by the charity tribunal in October last year. 

But he had applied to the Upper Tribunal for permission to appeal against the decision, the regulator said. 

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