Commission warns of legal action against Galloway

Commission warns of legal action against Galloway

Commission warns of legal action against Galloway

Finance | Vibeka Mair | 15 Apr 2009

The Charity Commission has threatened George Galloway MP with High Court action for ignoring repeated requests to discuss its inquiry into the Viva Palestina appeal.

The Commission opened an inquiry last month following concerns over the financial governance of £1m of funds the appeal said it had raised for aid in Gaza.

But this week Galloway (pictured), who says he was the ‘inspiration’ for the appeal but has not confirmed an official appeal role, responded to the Commission’s requests for a meeting with a 1,700 word letter published on his website accusing them of “bluster, threat and a wildly disproportionate and inappropriate reaction”.

“I have returned to a London address I seldom visit to find a blizzard of correspondence from you,” he said.

“The peremptory letters from you, and by you I mean the Charity Commission, are full of bluster and threat, issuing absurd deadlines to people it does not seem to occur to you are not even receiving your letters, either because they are working abroad, travelling abroad on high profile political business, or your are writing to them at the wrong address.

“In my own case, Easter Saturday opened with your, latest, threat to go before a High Court judge in a bid force me to appear before you. That will not be necessary. I look forward to telling you to your faces what I think of you.”

Registered in record time

Galloway also criticises the Commission for registering the appeal as a charity, although an application was received from Viva Palestina on 1 April and processed by 8 April.

Galloway said: “It is for you, for transparently political reasons, who insisted that charitable status should be sought.

“Your registered Viva Palestina as a charity in record quick time and without the great bulk of information you normally required.

“And then you froze the record-quick new charity’s bank account so that it could not operate.

“These are police state tactics, entirely inappropriate and without any basis.”

Alan Thomson
15 Apr 2009

Mr Galloway makes a good point. The Commission seems to be getting way too 'big for its boots' and entering areas way beyond its remit. Stick to what you are supposed to be doing - and get better at that - before trying to move into new areas.


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