'Perjuring' trustee disqualified

A trustee of a charity that supports French-speaking Africans living in London has been disqualified after a judge decided that he lied in court about a child the charity was working with.

Didi Bifar was a founding trustee of African Mental Health Community Support, which had an income of about £24,000 in 2005/06. He represented the charity in a care hearing last February about a supposedly unaccompanied minor from the Congo who was seeking leave to remain in the UK. The judge found that Bifar had perjured himself and submitted a forged document. He sent a copy of his judgement to the Charity Commission.

A commission inquiry concluded that Bifar's dishonesty amounted to mismanagement and misconduct in the administration of the charity. In the light of his dominant position within the charity, the regulator removed him as a trustee and restricted his transactions with the remaining trustees.

The inquiry report reads: "The actions of Mr Bifar had caused damage to the reputation of AMHCS and placed assets and future funding at risk."

Bifar was also disqualified from acting as trustee of any other charity, including the African French Speaking Council, which works with French-speaking Africans in the London borough of Redbridge and operates from the same building as AMHCS.

A concurrent enquiry into whether Bifar's dishonesty had endangered AFSC's funding found that the charity had apparently been dissolved last January.

The inquiry report concludes: "Charity trustees have a responsibility to act honestly. Any acts of dishonesty or deception will not be tolerated and will lead to their removal as charity trustees."

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