Sikh charity guilty of mismanagement and governance failures, Charity Commission rules

The commission opened a regulatory compliance case on the south London-based Khalsa Centre, which was unable to appoint trustees because of disputes among members

Charity Commission
Charity Commission

A Sikh charity that was unable to appoint new trustees because of disputes among members was guilty of mismanagement and governance failures, a Charity Commission inquiry has found.

The regulator yesterday published its report into its statutory inquiry into the Khalsa Centre, which has objects including advancing the education of the Sikh community and is based in Tooting, south London.

The report says that in June 2009 the commission opened a regulatory compliance case on the charity after receiving a complaint that an election of trustees in May 2009 had not been carried out in accordance with the charity’s constitution.

The report says there was a prolonged dispute among members of the charity that had resulted in the failure of the election and left it without properly appointed trustees.

Some interim trustees were eventually appointed, but they were unable to resolve issues around the charity’s governance and financial management to the regulator’s satisfaction.

This resulted in the commission escalating the case into a statutory inquiry in October 2012 and appointing an interim manager to run the charity a year later.

The interim manager, Michael King of the law firm Stone King LLP, conducted an exercise to verify the charity’s membership and new elections for trustees, who are now in place, and bring its accounts with the commission up to date.

The cost of the interim manager to the charity was £58,800, the commission’s report says.

In the year to the end of March 2013, the charity had an income of £143,231 and expenditure of £22,886.

Harbans Singh Mehta, president of the Khalsa Centre, said he was happy with the report and the outcome of the commission's work.

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