Press release

Charity investigation opened into Worldwide Ummah Aid

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into Worldwide Ummah Aid, registered charity number 1145673.

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The inquiry was opened on 18 August 2014, following concerns that charitable funds had been seized from a charity trustee during a routine check conducted by the Metropolitan Police as the individual left the country. At the time of the check a charity trustee gave inconsistent information to the police about the nature of his journey, the amount of funds on his person and its provenance.

The charity’s objects are, in summary, the relief of poverty and sickness, the relief of financial need and suffering among victims of natural disasters, and such other purposes as the trustees may from time to time determine are charitable and for the public benefit.

The inquiry will examine:

  • the governance of the charity by the trustees, with specific regard to trustee decision making and due diligence relating to partner organisations/intermediaries that the charity works with, or through use of cash couriers to transfer the charity’s funds overseas
  • the transactions between the charity and a trustee, to determine whether and the extent of any un-authorised trustee benefits
  • the charity’s financial controls and management, in particular to determine whether there are sufficient financial controls in place to manage any risk to the charity’s assets, in particular the use of cash couriers to transfer the charity’s funds overseas and fundraising
  • whether or not the trustees have complied with and fulfilled their duties and responsibilities as trustees under charity law.

In order to protect the charity’s funds and other property, as a temporary and protective measure, the commission has frozen the charity’s bank accounts under section 76(3)(d) of the Charities Act 2011; payments can only be made with the commission’s permission. The commission has also exercised section 76(3)(a) of the Charities Act 2011 to suspend one of the trustees of the charity.

The purpose of an inquiry to examine issues in detail and investigate and establish the facts so that the regulator can ascertain whether there has been misconduct and mismanagement; establish the extent of the risk to the charity’s property, beneficiaries or work; decide what action needs to be taken to resolve the serious concerns, if necessary using its legal powers to do so.

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 GOV.UK.

The charity’s details can be viewed on the commission’s online charity search tool.

Ends

PR 80/14


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.
  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.

Press office

Published 18 September 2014