Regulator investigates serious financial concerns at education charity

27 Feb 2024 News

Charity Commission building and logo

Civil Society Media

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into an education charity over “serious and ongoing concerns” regarding its finances. 

Abu Bakr Trust is a charity based in Walsall in the West Midlands that runs four independent schools, a mosque and other educational settings. 

The Commission’s inquiry will investigate the charity’s debt levels, financial management, reporting and governance. 

Failure to file accounts on time

The Commission said it would examine whether the trustees have properly exercised their legal duties under charity law and the extent of misconduct and/or mismanagement within the charity’s administration by its current and former trustees.

At the time of writing, its latest financial accounts are 242 days overdue, with its latest filed accounts being for the reporting year ending August 2021. 

The Commission previously engaged with the charity’s trustees in 2020 and 2022 about its governance and financial management.

Last year, the Telegraph reported that the charity had posted a video on Facebook in 2022 that promoted “anti-gay views” and that the Commission had subsequently opened a compliance case.

The Abu Bakr Trust told Civil Society that concerns over its social media activity had been resolved and would not be looked into during this inquiry. 

The Charity Commission concurred that these issues were resolved as part of its compliance case into the charity, so its new inquiry will not be examining the trust's social media activity. 

Abu Bakr Trust: Health issues have delayed filing

A spokesperson for Abu Bakr Trust said new trustees took over in 2022 but were unable to access information needed to file the accounts due to previous trustees suffering from health conditions.

“The new trustees have not taken any loans at all and are trying to put measures in place to ensure things are put back on track,” they said.

“Being a very large charity, this year is the full first year the new trustees are in business and working along with the former trustees to bring records up to date.

“The Charity Commission has been kept informed of the above mentioned issues facing the new trustees as they heavily rely on the former trustees to work out accurate information.”

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