The Charity Commission (‘the commission’) today published a report of its inquiry into Didi Nwe Organisation (‘the charity’). The charity was registered on 29 December 2010 and had objects to assist Kurdish people in need in Birmingham and work more broadly on preventing social exclusion of Kurdish people. The charity had 3 trustees with the chair of trustees being the main contact with the commission and who was of significant influence in the charity.
The commission opened its inquiry on 25 January 2013 following a referral from the police about the charity’s chair of trustees who was stopped by police whilst carrying charitable funds in cash on his return to the UK. Following an assessment, which included a review of information shared by the police, the commission opened its inquiry to investigate its concerns about the charity’s management and its activities.
The commission identified misconduct and mismanagement in the charity’s administration by the trustees which included failure to:
- keep sufficient accounting records to explain the charity’s transactions and activities, maintain internal financial controls in place or evidence the proper end use of the charity’s funds
- account for £14,080 of the charity’s funds paid to the charity’s chair of trustees
- properly consider and manage the risks, to act in the best interests of the charity or act with reasonable care and skill
- exercise proper supervision and control and manage the charity’s resources responsibly by inappropriately permitting the charity’s website and events to be used as a platform for and to promote an individual who was designated by the United Nations Security Council for belonging to or association with Al-Qaida, a proscribed terrorist organisation
The commission, on 6 July 2015, used its powers to remove all 3 individuals as trustees of the charity on the basis of the inquiry’s finding of misconduct and/or mismanagement in the administration of the charity. The charity had ceased to operate and was removed from the register on 17 August 2015 as a result.
Michelle Russell, Director of Investigations, Monitoring and Enforcement at the Charity Commission, said:
This charity was established to help Kurdish people in need but our investigation found little evidence of this.
The commission found that the trustees were not able to properly account for the charity’s expenditure and had not maintained proper records or financial controls, as required under charity law. This case is a reminder to all charities of the basic need to keep records and audit trails to show that the charity’s money has been properly spent on furthering the charity’s purposes.
Our investigation found that the charity’s trustees failed to exercise proper supervision and control of the charity and its activities by inappropriately permitting the charity’s website and events to be used as a platform for and/or to promote a designated individual. This is unacceptable.
There are a number of benefits for charities using a website and social media forums, however, these are not without risk. If a charity decides to use social media and a website in the charity’s name its trustees need to ensure that it is regularly reviewed and monitor its content to ensure it is appropriate to be promoted in the name of the charity. The duties of trustees to act in their charity best interests and to protect its property apply equally to a charity’s use of its website and other online and social media forums as it does to other areas of a charity’s work.
Our investigation also found that the chair of trustees exercised significant influence over directing the affairs of the charity. All decisions concerning a charity must be taken by the trustees collectively and in accordance with their governing document. Trustees who simply defer to the opinions of a dominant trustee are not carrying out their duty to the charity and the commission considers this an example of poor governance and evidence of mismanagement within the administration of the charity.
The full report is available on GOV.UK.
Notes to editors
- The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales. To find out more about our work, see our annual report.
- Search for charities on our online register.
- Details of how the Commission reports on its regulatory work can be found on GOV.UK.
- On 6 July 2015 the commission used its power under section 79(2)(a) of the Charities Act to make orders removing all 3 individuals as trustees of the charity on the basis of the inquiry’s finding of misconduct and/or mismanagement in the administration of the charity.
- The commission concluded that the charity ceased to exist or was no longer operating and the charity’s bank was notified of this. The charity was removed from the register on 17 August 2015.