The Charity Commission has disqualified two former trustees of a charitable school who are father and son. It has also given official warnings to two others.
Darul-Uloom School London is a charity that operates a school providing Islamic and national curriculum education to boys aged 11 – 19.
The Charity Commission launched a statutory inquiry into the charity in 2018 after its former trustee and teacher at the school, Yusuf Masa, was arrested following reports he was “brandishing a firearm” on the premises.
Yusuf was charged by police with the offence of possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear. He was also the school’s safeguarding lead at the time of the arrest.
Yusuf is the son of the then headteacher of the school, Mustafa Masa, who was also arrested in connection with the incident.
However, no further action was taken against him.
After the incident, the police searched the charity’s premises and found over £400,000 in cash, which was being kept in a wooden chest.
Serious misconduct by trustees
Both Yusuf and Mustafa are prohibited from holding trusteeships again due to serious misconduct and/or mismanagement.
The inquiry revealed that conflicts of interest at the charity were not adequately recognised or managed by the board, which was ruled as further evidence of misconduct and mismanagement at the charity.
Two current trustees, Umarji Hasan Patel and Ismail Vali Ahmed Maljee, have been issued with official warnings from the regulator.
This is due to mismanagement and/or misconduct occurring, which the regulator ruled they had otherwise contributed to or facilitated.
The charity now operates with six trustees.
Charity kept £400,000 in cash on the premises
The charity’s governance code specifies its income is to be deposited into its bank account. The charity failed to do this despite being legally required to do so.
The regulator ruled that keeping charitable funds in cash was unsafe and mismanagement, and put them at risk. The Commission’s inquiry uncovered the charity had a cash-intensive operating model, which did not comply with best practice.
In 2017, this £400,000 made up the majority of its income. The charity recorded a total income of £411,958 for the financial year ending 31 July 2017.
The regulator also took issue with the charity’s failure to file its annual accounts on time. The 2018 accounts were filed 172 days late.
Since the incident, the charity’s new and current trustees have made improvements to its financial controls. In 2019, a compliance visit to the charity found that staff were now being paid electronically and a greater proportion of school fees were being received via bank transfer or cheque.
‘I hope current trustees learn from what has happened’
Tim Hopkins, assistant director of investigations and inquiries at the Charity Commission, said: “The public rightly expect high standards of governance and integrity from charity trustees. Unfortunately, our inquiry has found the former trustees of Darul-Uloom School London did not meet those standards.
“Our inquiry has taken robust action to address wrongdoing and harm, including in disqualifying two former trustees. I hope that the current trustees learn the lessons from what has happened and ensure that the charity is more securely and effectively managed so it can deliver the best possible services for its beneficiaries.”