The Charity Commission has announced that it has opened a statutory inquiry into poverty eradication charity the Al-Hijrah Trust due to its trustees repeatedly filing the charity’s accounts late.
In a statement released by the Charity Commission yesterday, the regulator confirmed that it opened an inquiry into the charity on 8 June this year, after “a compliance visit and inspection” of the organisation in February.
According to the Commission, the charity’s trustees have “repeatedly failed to submit the charity’s accounts within the statutory timescales and address concerns” raised by the regulator about its financial controls.
The Al-Hijrah Trust, which lists its charitable objectives as the advancement through education and training of children and young people particularly, but not exclusively, those of the Muslim faith, has filed its last five sets of annual accounts late, according to the charity register.
The charity - which had an income of £782,224 and spending of £560,833 in its most recent set of accounts - filed its 2015 accounts two days late, its 2014 accounts 171 days late and its 2012 accounts 509 days late.
The Commission have said that the purpose of its inquiry is to “examine issues in detail and investigate and establish the fact,” so that it “can ascertain whether or not there has been misconduct or mismanagement; establish the extent of the risk to the charity’s property, beneficiaries or work”.
Once its investigation is complete, the Commission will then “decide what action needs to be taken to resolve the serious concerns” and, if necessary take further action.
In 2014, the charity was forced to deny allegations made in a number of national newspapers that it had diverted £1m from the Al-Hijrah school in Birmingham, to build a school in Ziarat, Pakistan.
A spokesperson for the Al-Hijrah Trust said: "On 8th June 2015 the Charity Commission notified Al Hijrah Trust (‘The Charity’) of its decision to open a statutory inquiry into the charity.
"The trustees, although disheartened by the Commission’s decision, will work with the Commission and intend to be open and transparent throughout the inquiry. The Trust, through this inquiry, want to address the misconception of misconduct on part of the trustees along with other allegations made in the press recently.
"The Trust has been providing education and serving the local community for over 25 years. The trustees are still committed, as they have always been, to the objectives of the Trust. The trustees hope to demonstrate this to the Commission during the inquiry".