Inquiry into charity that made £200,000 payments to trustee's bank account

The Charity Commission has opened an inquiry into a special needs charity after more than £200,000 was paid into a trustee’s bank account for what the regulator said was unclear reasons. 

The commission said it had opened a statutory inquiry into the Birmingham-based One Community Organisation because of “serious financial and governance concerns”.

The charity, which supports people in the deaf community and those with special needs, said there had been no wrongdoing or illegal activity and the payments issue had been resolved. 

The regulator said it opened a compliance case into the charity in April last year after inconsistencies were identified in the information trustees had reported to the commission, including conflicting statements about whether or not the charity owned property.

The commission said that as part of the case it had examined the charity’s finances, “which led to concerns that the trustees may have understated the charity’s income and expenditure for 2017 and 2018”. 

One Community Organisation is listed as having an income of £19,500 and an expenditure of £9,872 in 2018, according to its entry on the regulator’s online register. Its 2019 accounts are overdue, the register shows. 

The regulator said it had also identified concerns about potential unauthorised trustee payments. 

“The charity’s bank statements showed over £200,000 of charity funds were transferred via online payments to a trustee’s private bank account,” the regulator said. “The purpose of these payments is not clear.”

The commission said it had therefore escalated the case to a statutory inquiry to further examine the issues. 

In a statement on its website, the charity said the issue about payments to a personal bank account in 2018 had been resolved. 

It said the reason for the payments was that the charity did not have a business bank card and had to use a personal card to pay expenses. 

“All bank statements and receipts have been produced and accepted by the Charity Commission… and the issue is resolved,” it said. 

“We understand their concerns and the investigation shows no wrongdoing or illegal activity.”

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