Regulator opens inquiry into charity that runs major mosque after fraud claims

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into a charity that runs a large Birmingham mosque. The charity was previously reported to the police amid allegations of financial fraud.

Third Sector revealed in October that West Midlands Police were looking at reports relating to the financial arrangements of Dar UI Uloom Islamia Rizvia charity, which runs the Central Jamia Mosque Ghamkol Sharif in Small Heath. 

At the same time, the Charity Commission revealed it had been looking into the governance and financial arrangements of the charity since May. 

The regulator announced this week that it had opened a statutory inquiry into the charity over concerns about its administration and management.

These concerns include the trustees’ failure to ensure that policies and procedures relating to safeguarding have been implemented, and the conduct of some trustees and staff members on social media.

The commission said that it initially engaged with the charity in 2019 and found that safeguarding policies and procedures were not in place. 

At the time, the charity’s trustees were issued with regulatory advice and gave assurances to the commission that an educational centre would be closed and not reopen until required improvements were made. 

In November this year, a compliance visit to the charity’s premises was carried out by the commission following regulatory concerns related to the social media activity of some of the charity’s trustees and staff. 

These posts resulted in the charity receiving negative media attention and complaints being raised directly with the commission.

As part of the compliance visit the commission found that the educational centre had reopened without adhering to the charity’s policies and procedures. 

This had taken place despite there being incomplete disclosure and barring service checks in place for those engaged in regulated activity.

The regulator said its inquiry would examine the trustees’ failure to ensure that the charity’s policies and procedures relating to safeguarding were complied with and the conduct of trustees and senior management on social media.

It will also include looking at whether there were unmanaged conflicts of interest in relation to working with partners, and general governance concerns including financial controls, the making and recording of key decisions and securing proper application of charitable funds.

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