Press release

Afghan Heroes: armed forces charity under inquiry

The Charity Commission has opened an inquiry into Afghan Heroes to investigate concerns about the charity's management and administration.

The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has opened a statutory inquiry into Afghan Heroes (registered charity 1132340) a charity based in Somerset set up to help serving armed forces personnel along with their families and to relieve suffering among former members of the armed forces. Afghan Heroes was registered with the Commission in October 2009 (also uses the working name True Heroes). During the financial year ended 31 December 2012, the charity received £548,440 in income and spent £516,288.

The purpose of the inquiry, which opened on Friday 22 November 2013, is to examine various regulatory concerns about the management and administration of the charity, including:

  • the significant risk to, and potential loss of, the charity’s funds or other property

  • unmanaged conflicts of interest and unauthorised trustee benefits

  • whether, and to what extent, there was mismanagement or misconduct on the part of the trustees, in particular, financial mismanagement and/or serious governance failures and

  • whether, and to what extent, the trustees have discharged their legal duties as charity trustees

The regulator contacted the charity in September 2013 about how much income was spent on charitable activities and various payments to companies connected to some of the trustees. It met with the trustees in October 2013 and says the trustees have been unable to allay its concerns.

After opening the inquiry, the Commission has acted using legal powers to restrict the charity’s and its trading subsidiaries’ bank accounts and the transactions they may conduct, so that the trustees cannot make payments from the accounts or dispose of property without the consent of the Commission. In taking these steps, the Commission has considered carefully how to mitigate any impact of its regulatory action on the charity’s beneficiaries and its trading activities. The trustees were informed on Friday 13 December that the inquiry had been opened, of the regulatory action that had been taken and that this would be made public this week. The Commission has not yet formed any conclusions and will continue to consider what other regulatory actions it should take.

It is the Commission’s policy, after it has concluded the inquiry, to publish a report detailing what issues the inquiry looked at, what actions were undertaken as part of the inquiry and what the outcomes were. Reports of previous inquiries by the Commission are available on its website.

You can view the charity’s details on the Register of Charities.


PR 61/13

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Notes to Editors

1.The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales.

2.Our mission is to be the independent registrar and regulator of charities in England and Wales, acting in the public’s interest, to ensure that:

  • charities know what they have to do
  • the public know what charities do
  • charities are held to account

3.Section 46 of the Charities Act 2011 gives the Charity Commission the power to institute inquiries. The opening of an inquiry gives the Commission access to a range of protective and remedial powers.

4.The Commission’s decision to announce the opening of a statutory inquiry is based on whether it is in the public interest to do so and with consideration of our objective to increase public trust and confidence in charities. Read more information on the Commission’s policy and factors taken into account when deciding to issue a press release.