Watchdog issues warning to Islamic charity over governance failings

The Charity Commission investigated the Islamic Trust (Maidenhead) last year after it failed to file its accounts for 2016 on time

Maidenhead Mosque
Maidenhead Mosque

An Islamic charity in Maidenhead, Berkshire, has been given an official warning after a Charity Commission inquiry found misconduct and administrative mismanagement at the charity.

The commission opened an inquiry into the Islamic Trust (Maidenhead), which runs Maidenhead Mosque, in April 2017 after its trustees failed to file its statutory returns for 2016 on time.

The charity had previously been part of a commission inquiry into double-defaulters – charities that had failed to properly file their documents with the commission two years in a row.

The Charity Commission’s register shows that the charity’s accounts and annual returns were filed between three and 20 months late every year between 2013 and 2016.

In 2017, the charity had an income of £707,000 and spent £92,000.

The commission issued an order under section 84 of the Charities Act directing the trustees to prepare and submit the outstanding statutory returns and explain what steps had been taken to prepare them. The trustees complied in full with the order and the outstanding statutory returns were submitted in May 2017.

As part of the inquiry, the commission inspected the charity’s books and records and concluded that the trustees did not properly discharge their duties under charity law.

In December, the commission issued the charity with an official warning using new powers granted by the Charities Act 2016.

A spokesman for Islamic Trust (Maidenhead) told Third Sector: "We have dealt with issues that were outstanding and we are now moving forward."

Michelle Russell, director of investigations, monitoring and enforcement at the commission, said in a statement that it was necessary to show that charitable funds were being spent on legitimate causes. "In this case there were clear failings in the charity’s financial management and overall governance, despite it having received advice from the commission as part of our double-defaulters class inquiry," she said.

"The trustees also failed to keep records of their wider decision-making, which meant they were unable to show that they acted reasonably and in the best interests of the charity, and took advice where appropriate."

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