Man told to produce overdue Viva Palestina accounts appeals to charity tribunal

Ian Drummond says he is not and never has been a trustee of the charity set up by Respect MP George Galloway to take food and aid to Gaza

Viva Palestina
Viva Palestina

A man told by the Charity Commission to hand over long-overdue accounts of the charity Viva Palestina has appealed against the order in the charity tribunal because he says he has never been a trustee of the organisation.

The commission’s online register of charities lists Ian Drummond as one of two trustees of the charity, which was set up in 2009 by George Galloway, the Respect Party MP for Bradford West, to convey aid and food to Gaza. Its entry on the register does not show any annual documents. The other trustee is listed as Arif Bajwa.

A spokeswoman for the commission said that In September Drummond and another man, Ronald McKay, were "issued with an order under section 84 of the Charities Act 2011 to provide the commission with the charity’s overdue accounts".

In November last year, the commission varied its order to release McKay from the requirement to supply the accounts after he claimed he was not a trustee of the charity. The regulator agreed to remove him from the order after he lodged an appeal with the tribunal.

Drummond has also appealed against the order. A directions document published online by the tribunal last week, dated 26 June, says that a one-day hearing will take place in London at a date yet to be set. Drummond lodged his appeal with the tribunal in April.

"Mr Drummond claims he is not, and never has been, a trustee and should not have been issued the order," the commission spokeswoman said.

The commission launched a statutory inquiry into the charity in June 2013, with the overdue accounts one of the issues for investigation. The inquiry continues.

Later that year, the charity was removed from the online register, but the regulator later said this had happened by mistake and it was reinstated.

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