Investigators to examine 'profound concerns' of staff about the running of Muslim Aid

Muslim Aid has commissioned independent investigators to look into concerns after staff sent a letter to the Charity Commission expressing no confidence in the charity's chief executive, Jehangir Malik.

The letter, which purports to have the backing of 40 employees, cites “profound concerns” about the stewardship of the charity, including its financial management, the organisation’s deficit, spending and an alleged lack of financial transparency.

Other issues brought up in the letter include the departure of the finance director and alleged governance problems at the charity.

The letter, seen by Third Sector, was originally sent in November to the charity’s board, challenging trustees to take action, and has since been passed to the regulator.

The dispute comes after the conclusion a Charity Commission inquiry that began in 2013. The inquiry, which concluded in 2018, found that Muslim Aid’s former trustees were responsible for serious mismanagement for a failure to adequately monitor the charity's finances.

An interim manager was appointed in 2016 to oversee governance issues at the charity after the former trustees failed to comply with a series of actions required by the regulator.

Malik was also appointed in 2016 to take over as from Hamid Azad as chief executive of Muslim Aid, and led the charity throughout the commission’s inquiry.

A statement from Muslim Aid said investigations relating to the allegations in the letter were under way, some of which were being run by independent investigators.

“Clearly there is a process to be followed in investigating and dealing with complaints, and the board of Muslim Aid has been following correct processes and keeping the Charity Commission informed at all relevant stages," the statement said.

“It is not really appropriate to comment on the details and findings of the process as investigations are still ongoing.

“It is worth noting, though, that alongside the original whistleblowing complaint there have been other issues the trustees have uncovered that have also required investigation, and concrete action is being taken now and in the immediate future.”

The statement said the charity accepted that there were still long-term issues at Muslim Aid that needed to be resolved, and underlined the organisation’s commitment to resolving those problems.

“It has been clear that there are issues with the organisation and that they are not recent ones, but long-standing concerns that the Charity Commission as well as the current board are aware of and have been working tirelessly to resolve.

“This will not be an overnight solution, and the work of the charity and its considerable positive impact on beneficiaries has to come first while investigations take place.”

The Charity Commission said it had received the letter of no confidence and was “continuing to assess concerns as part of our ongoing monitoring case into the charity to determine whether or not there is a need for regulatory action by the commission”.

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