The Charity Commission has discharged the interim manager it appointed to Muslim Aid following a governance and infrastructure review of the charity, and the regulator says it will shortly close its investigation into the charity.
The charity had been subject to a statutory inquiry since November 2013 which examined a number of financial irregularities relating to areas of the charity’s governance activities.
As a result of this investigation, the charity was given 12 months to comply with an order to improve its governance and financial management. Despite regular and continued engagement with the charity, and despite its cooperation, the Commission decided to an interim manager to the charity in October 2016.
Michael King of Stone King, the appointed interim manager, has also overseen the charity’s transfer into a new charitable incorporated organisation (CIO). King oversaw the dissolution of the original charity and the transfer of all assets and liabilities to the CIO, as well as setting up of a new trustee board which took office from 31 January 2018.
The board is led by chair Iftikhar Awan, an independent management consultant who specialises in programme, project and change management and business consulting. The deputy chair is Overseas Development Insitute managing director Sara Pantuliano, who has led the ODI’s humanitarian team for six years and is a member of the Global Future Council on the Humanitarian System of the World Economic Forum. The board also includes five other trustees.
The new board will be responsible for managing and overseeing the implementation of future improvements required to “ensure that the charity moves forward in a compliant manner and on a positive footing to continue its charitable work”.
Muslim Aid must be ‘amongst the best’
The charity’s chair Awan said: “Everything we do, small or big, must be to the highest standards; second best will not be acceptable. I would like to see Muslim Aid shine as a beacon of best practice and excellence, with a great reputation for delivery.
“We must be amongst the best, in not the just the Muslim charity sector, but in the charity sector as a whole. We will strive to become the charity of choice that individuals and institutional donors turn to, because they trust us to deliver effectively and efficiently. We are not looking to become the biggest, but we certainly want to be amongst the best at delivery”.
On his discharge, King said: "This important faith-based charity is now fully equipped to continue to carry out its work throughout the world under the leadership of its CEO and very competent senior management team. I am delighted to be handing over ultimate responsibility for Muslim Aid to a diverse board of trustees, carefully chosen for their skills and experience, under whose guidance I'm sure it will flourish."
The Commission said it will be shortly closing its investigation and issuing an action plan to the new trustees to “ensure that they build on the good progress made so far and continue to improve the charity’s governance and financial management, especially those relating to the management of Muslim Aid CIO’s country offices”.
The regulator said it will monitor the charity’s progress to ensure it complies with the action plan, and will consider further use of its statutory powers “if the charity does not continue to make timely and sufficient progress or fails to comply with the action plan”.
Jehangir Malik, Muslim Aid’s chief executive who took over the role in September 2016, said: "Muslim Aid has a 30-year excellent track record of humanitarian aid and working for long term development. The ethos of our new charitable incorporated organisation is rooted in teachings from the Quran. Accountability is not just a good buzzword but it should be a living, breathing entity running through staff, beneficiaries, the CEO and the board, because we run on public trust with the aim of fulfilling our mission and purpose to serve humanity."