Police examine fraud allegations at charity that runs major mosque

The police are investigating an allegation of financial fraud at a charity that runs a large Birmingham mosque.

West Midlands Police said they were looking at a report made last week relating to the financial arrangements of Dar UI Uloom Islamia Rizvia charity, which runs the Central Jamia Mosque Ghamkol Sharif in Small Heath. 

The Charity Commission has been looking into the governance and financial arrangements of the charity since May. 

Sources close to the charity raised concerns about an alleged £17,000 payment made to a PPE supplier in March last year and the status of a funeral service connected to the organisation. 

The charity’s 2020 accounts are more than 200 days overdue, but documents covering the year to 31 March 2019 show there is a related party's interest in Golden Hillock Islamic Funeral Service. 

The accounts state: “The partners Ashan Ul-Haq and Abdul Khaliq are also trustees of the charity. The funeral services pay an annual rent of £4,800 for premises rented from the charity and if possible a charitable donation to the charity.”

The charity said it and the funeral service company were separate entities that worked closely together to meet the needs of local people.

It said that the business provided undertaking services while the charity delivered associated religious functions through the mosque.

But Yaseen Ghalib, who in August last year resigned from his position after more than 20 years at the funeral service, after raising concerns about pay and working conditions, said: “The funeral service 100 per cent belongs to the mosque. 

“After salary all profits would go to the mosque. 

“Before I left I started asking questions, because it’s a part of the charity and no one should be taking money out of it. 

“It used to give about £80,000 in rent to the charity and now it’s about £5,000. 

“Where has that money gone?

“It’s a place of worship and it’s public money, but some people are there for their own gain.”

A spokesperson for the charity said that according to the records he had seen, no one of that name had ever been employed there or at the funeral service provider.

Another whistleblower, who wished to remain anonymous, said he had reported concerns around an alleged payment for PPE to both the police and the Charity Commission. 

He said: “I have been in contact with a PPE supplier who shared evidence with me that a payment of £17,000 for PPE was made from the charity’s bank account in March last year.

“I have also seen evidence that a refund was asked to be repaid into a different bank account the following month I believe belongs to trustee chair Ahsan Ul-Haq.”

The charity said the allegation against Ul-Haq was unfounded and was an attempt to “bring the charity into disrepute for personal and hidden agendas”.

A spokesperson for the charity said it had no record of such a payment being made. 

The spokesperson said the charity would co-operate fully with police and the Charity Commission in relation to any concerns raised. 

A spokesperson added: “Trustees are investigating as they would any allegations relating to the charity.

“At this stage, the trustees have not been able to substantiate the allegations of fraud.”

A spokesperson for West Midlands Police said: “We can confirm we are in receipt of an allegation and we are investigating.”

A spokesperson for the Charity Commission said: “We have an ongoing case to examine concerns relating to governance and financial arrangements of this charity. We continue to engage with the trustees and we cannot comment further at this time.”

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