Regulator opens inquiry into poverty charity

The move follows the Ummah Welfare Foundation's failure to follow the regulator's advice

Charity Commission
Charity Commission

The Charity Commission has frozen the bank account and suspended a trustee of a Muslim poverty charity after its board failed to comply with commission advice.

The measures are part of a statutory inquiry announced by the commission today into the Ummah Welfare Foundation, which has objects of relieving poverty and sickness and advancing education throughout the world.

Although Islam is not mentioned among its objects, its website says it is "inspired by the Islamic teachings of empathy, generosity and selflessness". Ummah is the Arabic word for nation or community.

The Manchester-based charity registered with the commission in December 2012. Its first set of accounts, for the year to the end of July 2013, have not yet been filed with the regulator and are almost three months overdue, according to the commission’s website.

The regulator said that it carried out a compliance visit to the charity in June 2013. It identified concerns about the charity’s governance and financial management and provided advice and guidance on this. A follow-up visit in May this year found that this advice had not been followed.

The inquiry, which opened on 6 August, will look at the trustees’ failure to submit annual accounts, their financial record-keeping, management of conflicts of interest and failure to implement the regulator’s guidance.

The commission has also frozen the charity’s bank account and suspended one of its two trustees, although the regulator declined to confirm which of the two listed on its online register this was.

A spokeswoman for the regulator said its initial compliance visit was made because the charity was newly registered, had only two trustees and was carrying out work internationally.

The charity did not respond to phone calls or emails from Third Sector before publication of this story.

The commission said in a statement that the charity was not related to the Amanat Charity Trust, which operates as the Ummah Welfare Trust and was in the news last month after being told by HSBC that its bank accounts would be closed.

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