The Charity Commission has appointed an interim manager at an aid charity that was accused by The Sun of supporting Muslim fighters in Syria, as part of an ongoing investigation.
Michael King of Stone King has been appointed to work alongside trustees at Al-Fatiha Global as the Commission conducts its statutory inquiry. King has been appointed by the Commission with the inclusion of the charity’s trustees as a “temporary and protective measure”.
The Commission opened its inquiry on 21 March 2014, shortly after a front-page article of The Sun alleged that a man it described as the charity’s chief executive was in Syria supporting rebel fighters. Adniel Ali, who the charity says was actually a volunteer, was shown in an image apparently embracing masked fighters brandishing AK47s. Al-Fatiha Global has denied any involvement in criminal activity or fighting.
Michael Lloyd, a trustee of the charity, launched an appeal against the decision to open a statutory inquiry in May, and subsequently withdrawn in October.
In a statement released in July, the charity said: “Whilst we understand the pressures the Charity Commission is under from the UK Authorities, Security Services and the media to curtail convoy missions and all charities that are involved with them, we insist that an open ended inquiry is not the way forward to address any issues identified and can be detrimental to aid efforts for Syria in the long term.
“It damages public confidence in the good name of the charities concerned and the good work that they have accomplished inside Syria where many have failed. We continue to cooperate with the Commission, and have provided all the information they require with specially appointed advisors to address any administrative shortcomings or concerns.”
King, a former chairman of Stone King who now works as a consultant in the firm’s Charity and Social Enterprise Team, has been tasked with improving the management and administration of the charity so it can be compliant with charity law and good practice.