Two trustees from an aid charity have been permanently removed and barred from being trustees of any charity in the future, after investigations found several instances of misconduct.
OSCR, the Scottish charity regulator, opened a statutory inquiry into Scottish aid charity Scotia Aid Sierra and published an interim report in July last year. The charity had already been subject to investigation by South Lanarkshire Council.
The council investigation found that only 13 pence in every pound was being spent on charitable activities. OSCR found that payments had been made by the charity to companies connected to trustees. It found those payments were “excessive and have not been sufficiently explained”.
OSCR found that the charity was raising money it may not have been entitled to by claiming it was the tenant on empty properties – saving the landlords business rates – in exchange for donations.
The regulator removed the trustees on an interim basis. On 23 December last year the Court of Session, Scotland’s highest court, granted a motion to permanently remove the trustees and permanently appoint a judicial factor – an external, court-appointed manager – to run the charity.
The order for removal has the effect of permanently disqualifying the individuals concerned from acting as charity trustees of any charity.
Martin Tyson, head of casework at OSCR, said: “After considering all of the available evidence, we became concerned that there was misconduct in the administration of the charity, and took necessary action to protect its assets. The Court of Session granting our motion will help ensure that funds will be used more appropriately in the future. Individuals who are a risk to a charity have been prevented from acting as trustees for any other charity.
“Trustees should always act in the interests of the charity with reasonable care and diligence. As this announcement shows, where trustees fail to do this, we will use our powers and take appropriate action.”