Regulator opens inquiry into grant-maker over conflict of interest concerns

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into grant-making charity The Knightland Foundation because of concerns about potential conflicts of interest.

The commission said yesterday it had been looking into the London-based charity since 2016 after a proactive review of its accounts revealed a number of concerns, including insufficiently documented loan agreements and transactions to connected companies.

As a result the regulator issued the charity’s trustees with an action plan to address these matters in March 2017.

It continued to monitor the charity, but due to unresolved concerns it escalated its engagement to a statutory inquiry in February 2021, which gives the regulator access to the full range of its legal and enforcement powers.

In April this year, the commission appointed joint interim managers John Dickinson and Joseph Colley, of accountancy firm Carter Backer Winter, to help address the concerns at the charity.

The trustees have appealed this decision to the charity tribunal and a hearing is expected to take place in early summer.

In the meantime, the commission’s inquiry will examine whether potential conflicts of interest and connected party transactions have been properly managed and whether there has been any unauthorised trustee benefit.

It will also look at wider concerns around the charity’s financial and resource management and the trustees’ compliance with their legal obligations.

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