The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has opened a statutory inquiry into Al-Fatiha Global (registered charity number 1056562). The inquiry is investigating serious concerns about the governance and financial management of the charity. The Commission had been monitoring the charity since 2013, and the inquiry, which is the most serious level of the regulator’s investigatory work, opened on 21 March 2014.
The charity’s objects are to relieve sickness by providing free clinics for the people of northern Pakistan and to provide humanitarian aid globally in areas disrupted by conflict and natural disaster. Its activities include organising and participating in convoys to Syria.
The regulator says it is investigating:
Whether the trustees are effectively discharging their duties under charity law with particular regard to the proper accounting for the income and expenditure of the charity, and the management of the charity in accordance with its governing document and the law.
Regulatory issues in connection with reports in the public domain alleging inappropriate links between the charity and individuals purportedly involved in supporting armed or other inappropriate activities in Syria.
It is the Commission’s policy, after it has concluded an 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.
The Charity Commission has issued regulatory advice under section 15(2) of the Charities Act 2011 to charities about the risks involved in working in conflict zones such as Syria and trustees’ legal duties and responsibilities. This can be found on the Commission website in the alerts section.
A trustee of Al-Fatiha Global has lodged an appeal with the charity tribunal against the Commission’s decision to open a statutory inquiry into the charity (see endnote 1).
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 Charity Commission does not investigate criminal matters and is not a prosecuting authority. Investigation of criminal offences is a matter for the police and law enforcement agencies. The Commission’s role is to ensure charities’ compliance with charity law, and to promote public trust and confidence in charities. Where issues are raised about alleged criminal matters, we will consider whether these indicate misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of the charity and whether we need to protect charity property.
5.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.
(1) This sentence was added to the press release on 20 May 2014.