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Charity Commission assessing new claims that £8.2m is missing from Gospel for Asia UK accounts

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Charity Commission assessing new claims that £8.2m is missing from Gospel for Asia UK accounts

Governance | Emily Corfe | 21 Jan 2016

The Charity Commission said it is assessing new information claiming that £8.2m has gone missing from the bank account of the UK charity Gospel for Asia.

The charity’s US branch was rocked by scandal following allegations that $128m worth of donor funds were unaccounted for.

This morning, the Charity Commission said it is assessing new claims about missing charitable funds sent by the British branch to India.

Former auditor Jason Watkins, claims £9.5m was sent from the UK branch to fund projects in India over the past eight years. But just £1.3m was received in India, meaning that £8.2m is currently unaccounted for, according to Watkins' analysis of reports sent by GFA to "different governing authorities" in the US.

Watkins told Civil Society News that despite significant funds reportedly sent from the UK to India over an eight year period, GFA's reports reveal that no money was received by the charity's operations in India, prior to the financial year 2013 to 2014.

Last year, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability revoked the charity’s US membership and it was sanctioned by the US government’s Office of Personnel Management, following revelations by blogger Warren Throckmorton that large funds were unaccounted for.

In December, the charity apologised to donors for “failing to utilize procedures necessary to ensure the highest level of accountability”.

The statement in Christianity Today magazine said: “We understand this has caused great concern and raised questions about the integrity and financial accountability of Gospel for Asia. We are sorry for the pain and confusion that we have caused".

A former senior leader and co-director of development at GFA, Travis Helm, who worked for the charity for eight years, before resigning in April, told Civil Society News that many financial decisions taken by the UK branch were centrally controlled.

Helm claims a representative of the charity’s founder and international director, KP Yohannan, “made numerous trips to the UK office to check up to maintain control” and that “almost every major - and minor – decision was filtered thought Yohannan".

The charity’s UK branch accounts reveal that six staff are currently employed in the Manchester-based office. In the last financial year, its income stood at £1.9m – an increase of more than £260,000 from the previous year. Expenditure last year was recorded as just under £1.7m.

Both Gospel for Asia UK and KP Yohannan were approached for comment by Civil Society News but did not respond by the time of going to press.

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