Regulator removes charity from register after sole trustee convicted of theft

Ahtiq Raja was found guilty in October of stealing about £240,000 from GTC, for which he was given a 24-month community order

The Charity Commission has removed a charity that ran a fundraising website from its register after its only trustee was convicted of stealing £240,000 from the organisation. 

The regulator said last year that it had opened an inquiry into GTC, which operated a fundraising platform called Give to Charity, because of concerns about its governance and administration. 

The commission said at the time that the charity, which had objects of relieving poverty in the UK, mainly in the area around Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, appeared to have sent funding to Greece, Turkey, Syria and Pakistan “for purposes outside of its remit”

In an inquiry report published yesterday, the commission said that Ahtiq Raja, the charity’s sole trustee, had been disqualified from charity trusteeship after he was found guilty at Northampton Crown Court in October of the theft of about £240,000 from the charity. He was later given a 24-month community order.

The report said the regulator found that the funds, most of which had been paid to the charity mistakenly by a third party, had been transferred to Raja’s private bank account. 

The money was used to purchase a property that was held in the name of a private company of which Raja was the sole director and sole shareholder. The funds have since been repaid to the third party.

The report said that the charity having only one trustee allowed the theft to take place.  

“In the years leading up to the inquiry there were no other trustees to oversee and assist in decision-making processes or to appropriately manage conflicts of interest,” it said. 

The report added that the regulator “found poor governance at the charity, which was operating in breach of its governing document”.

The charity had an income of £21,919 and expenditure of £17,668 in the year to the end of March 2017.

Amy Spiller, head of investigation teams at the Charity Commission, said: “This charity was set up to improve the lives of people suffering financial hardship, but sadly this individual betrayed those good intentions. 

“Our investigation uncovered appalling behaviour by someone who was in a position of trust, and it is right that they have been held to account for their actions.”

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