The Charity Commission has removed an organisation from its register after finding no evidence of charitable activity and funds being spent on gym membership and TV subscriptions.
Islamic Global Trust registered as a charity in 2008 and was previously known as Pakistan Overseas Alliance Forum Global Trust and POAF Global Trust. The regulator began looking into the charity in 2013 after Manchester City Council raised concerns that it was incorrectly claiming business rates.
The findings of the investigation have been published today and reveal that there were “significant discrepancies” between the income the charity reported in its annual return and the money passing through its bank accounts.
Bank statements show the charity’s account was being used to pay for a monthly gym subscription, a digital TV channel where one trustee was a director (£6,100) and debt collection agencies (£14,600). It had also incurred unnecessary bank charges.
The Commission said that at a meeting in 2013 there was “confusion” about who the trustees were and whether there were enough trustees to comply with its governing document. The investigation was escalated to a statutory inquiry in 2014.
The charity’s social media activity ceased in 2013 and its website closed by August 2015.
Since the initial meeting in 2013, the regulator has since been unable to contact the trustees and establish what happened.
The charity changed its trustees during the course of the investigation. Details of the two people originally attached to the charity were removed and two people with overseas addresses were added in 2015.
The Commission was unable to trace the new trustees. It was also unable to trace the original trustees.
‘Abuse of charity and public trust’
Amy Spiller, head of investigations team at the Charity Commission, said: “Charities hold special status in society and the public rightly have high expectations of those responsible for them. Trustees should be careful custodians of charity, acting in the public interest to further the charitable mission and purpose of their organisation.
“The trustees of Islamic Global Trust failed in their duties. They used charitable funds for their own agendas, without regard for their charitable cause and the purposes for which money was donated. This was an abuse of charity and public trust."