The Charity Commission has appointed an interim manager to review the governance structure and financial controls at Muslim Aid.
The regulator opened a statutory inquiry into the international aid charity in November 2013 to examine a number of financial irregularities relating to areas of the charity’s overseas 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.
The Commission said that there has been regular and continued engagement and correspondence with the charity. But despite the charity, which recently appointed Jehangir Malik as its new chief executive, co-operating with the Commission throughout the inquiry, including more recently in the monitoring phase, it “has become clear that they are unable to resolve the matters themselves” and comply with the order.
The regulator said that this has left “a number of wider governance issues unresolved which require support in order to regularise its activities”, as a result it has appointed Michael King of Stone King as interim manager to review the governance infrastructure, as well as the financial controls in relation to its domestic and international operations.
The Commission said it has been in discussion with the trustees about the appointment for some time.
‘A necessary but positive step’
Michelle Russell, director of investigations monitoring and enforcement, said: “There are underlying issues that have been identified in this inquiry that the trustees have unfortunately been unable to resolve on their own. The appointment of an Interim Manager is a necessary but positive step to address these outstanding compliance and governance issues.
“The end goal for all concerned, including the trustees, is to ensure the charity moves forward in a compliant manner and on a positive footing to continue the valuable charitable work it does. In addition, we welcome the charity’s recent appointment of Jehangir Malik as chief executive and his commitment to resolving these matters as a priority.”
A Muslim Aid spokeswoman had told Civil Society Media in 2014 that the inquiry was “launched as a result of Muslim Aid’s own notification to the Charity Commission of non-compliance with some operational aspects in two field offices”.
According to the Charity Commission’s register of charities, Muslim Aid had an income of £34.6m in 2014, and 18 trustees.
Malik said: "Muslim Aid has been fully cooperating with the Charity Commission throughout its inquiry, and will continue to work with the Commission and the interim manager to strengthen the organisation. The charity has a proud history of delivering life-saving and life-changing work in complex and challenging contexts.
“Since joining the organisation, I have been impressed by its programmes and its people, that it is my privilege to lead. I look forward to working with all concerned to help strengthen the organisation, and in turn increase our impact on poverty to improve and save lives around the world.”
King, who was appointed Interim Manager of Muslim Aid with effect from 17 October 2016, said: "This is an important international NGO, rooted in the faith of the Muslim Community and carrying out work in over 70 countries across the world. My principal task is to ensure that it will be a beacon of good governance in line with good practice, so enabling it to expand its vital relief work throughout the world. I hope that my role will last no more than a few months.”