Regulator opens inquiry into charity over unexplained payments to a trustee

The Charity Commission will examine whether the funds of the Orphan Relief Fund and Charitable Trust have been used for charitable purposes

Charity Commission
Charity Commission

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into a poverty relief charity over allegedly unexplained payments to a trustee and failure to provide records about its spending in Iraq.

The commission announced today that it had opened an inquiry into the Orphan Relief Fund and Charitable Trust following a compliance visit in May, which was carried out because the charity operated in high-risk countries.

The charity provides poverty relief and education for young people who have lost one or more parent, and works in Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia, as well as a number of other countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

During the compliance visit, the commission found that the trustees were unable to provide records about a significant amount of its spending in Iraq between 2013 and 2017.

A number of unexplained payments had also been made to one of the charity’s trustees, the commission said.

The regulator also found that the charity had spent charitable funds on activities that fell outside the charity’s remit.

According to the charity's entry on the Charity Commission’s website, the trust had an income of £583,485 and spent £596,199 in the year to 31 July 2016.

The latest accounts were submitted 43 days late, the Charity Commission website shows.

The regulator said the inquiry, which was opened on 24 July, would examine the administration, governance and management of the charity by the trustees and their conduct.

It will also look at the financial controls and management of the charity and whether its funds have been used for charitable purposes and can be accounted for, as well as whether the trustees have complied with charity law.

The Orphan Relief Fund and Charitable Trust did not respond to a request for comment before Third Sector’s deadline.

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