Sikh charity facing statutory inquiry by the Charity Commission

The regulator opened an investigation into the Asthan Babe Ke Trust last month amid concerns that the charity has been poorly managed

Charity Commission building
Charity Commission building

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into a Sikh charity amid concerns that an internal dispute has left the charity poorly managed.

The inquiry into the Birmingham-based Asthan Babe Ke Trust, which was opened by the commission last month and announced yesterday, comes after concerns were raised last year about undeclared income, poor financial controls and unmanaged conflicts of interest at the charity.

A regulatory compliance case, which was opened by the commission last year, also looked at allegations of personal benefits and the invalid appointment of trustees.

The commission set the charity an action plan to resolve the problems at the charity, including mediation for an internal dispute.

But the commission said it had concerns about whether the charity’s trustees had sufficient oversight and control over the charity’s funds, payments and records, because the charity is apparently controlled and administered by an executive committee that manages its cash funds, according to the regulator.

The commission said it also had concerns about the management of the charity’s freehold assets, which are valued at almost £1.8m.

According to the Charity Commission website, the charity had an income of £115,891 and spent £56,149 in the year to 31 August 2016.

It filed its accounts for the four previous years on the same day in June last year – including those for 2011/12, which were about four years overdue.

The charity was advised by the commission to vest its UK property in the Official Custodian, which is a statutory service that can hold land on behalf of a charity, but the charity failed to do so.

The trustees have also failed to make "any meaningful progress" on the commission’s action plan, the regulator said.

The inquiry will consider the governance, management and administration of the charity, including whether the trustees are either willing or capable of managing the charity in accordance with its governing document.

The charity did not respond to a request for comment before Third Sector’s deadline.

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