Press release

Interim Manager appointed to Afghan Poverty Relief charity

The Charity Commission has appointed an interim manager to the charity Afghan Poverty Relief.

The commission used its powers under the Charities Act 2011 to appoint Pesh Framjee of Crowe Clark Whitehill LLP as Interim Manager of the charity to the exclusion of its trustees as a temporary and protective measure. Mr Framjee took over the management of the charity on Friday 26 September. The charity’s trustees have been informed of the decision.

The commission opened a statutory inquiry into the charity in February 2012 to investigate concerns relating to the alleged misappropriation of the charity’s funds and concerns about its administration, governance and overall management. At the same time, the regulator took action to prevent two of the charity’s then trustees, Syed Hajnajafi and Akila Kassam, from entering into certain transactions in the administration of the charity (see endnote 1).

Both trustees were subsequently suspended by the commission as trustees of the charity and following a criminal prosecution, supported by the commission, were convicted of theft from the charity in April 2014. In May 2014 Syed Hajnajafi was sentenced to 5 years and Akila Kassam to 3 years imprisonment for defrauding the charity out of £350,000 (see endnote 2).

The commission has now appointed an Interim Manager to take over the management and administration of the charity, including to:

  • represent the charity during ongoing criminal confiscation proceedings, conducted under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, and make arrangements for the proper application of any funds that may be recovered by the charity as a result

  • identify the extent of any assets and liabilities of the charity in the UK and Afghanistan

  • compile and submit overdue annual accounts and returns

  • determine the future of the charity

It is the commission’s normal practice to publish a report on conclusion of an inquiry setting out what issues the inquiry looked at, what actions were undertaken as part of the inquiry and what the outcomes were.

Ends

PR 83/14


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. Section 76(3)(g) of the Charities Act 2011 is a temporary and protective power available to the commission after an inquiry has been opened to appoint an Interim Manager to act as receiver and manager in respect of the property and affairs of the charity. An interim manager’s functions are to be discharged, in accordance with s78 Charities Act 2011 by the interim manager under the supervision of the commission.

Endnotes

  1. This was a temporary and protective measure - an order was issued under section 76(3)(f) of the Charities Act 2011. In practice the trustees that were subject to the order were prevented from appealing for, collecting, soliciting or otherwise raising money or other property, either directly or indirectly, in the name of or on behalf of the charity without the prior written approval of the commission, thereby mitigating any risk to future charitable funds collected by these individuals without preventing the charity from fundraising.
  2. More background information can be read on GOV.UK

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