Individual disqualified as trustee for 4 years after failure to evidence how charity funds were used

The charity watchdog has  published a report of its statutory inquiry into Deen Team – this sets out the regulatory action it has taken including that it has disqualified an individual from being a trustee for 4 years.

The Commission opened an inquiry into Deen Team in June 2016. The charity had previously been identified for a proactive visit, in 2014, as it was a newly registered charity operating in Syria, a high-risk area. Following that visit the Commission had a number of concerns about the charity regarding poor governance and financial controls and issued the trustees with regulatory advice and guidance. The Commission attempted to re-engage with the trustees in 2015, but following poor cooperation from the trustees it subsequently opened an inquiry to investigate these further.

Throughout the inquiry the Commission attempted to obtain evidence from the trustees to show how the charity’s funds had been applied. The trustees were unable to provide complete records and therefore failed to meet their legal duty to account for how they had used all the charity’s funds.

The inquiry also found that:

  • the individual disqualified by the Commission had paid themselves £2,000 from the charity’s funds and was unable to provide records to support their claim that this was to cover charity fundraising and administration costs
  • all decision-making was deferred to the disqualified individual; two other individuals who became trustees after the Commission initially engaged with the charity were unaware of their legal duties
  • a former trustee of the charity continued to use a property that the charity rented at a nominal rate of £1 for their own purposes without the consent of the charity’s trustees. The charity’s existing trustees did not appreciate and acknowledge the asset’s value to the charity and failed to protect it from the conduct of the former trustee

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