UK media has published some startling information about the UK Charity Commission, the governmental entity responsible for ensuring that the nation’s charities are free from ties to terrorism. According to a report in the Daily Mail, the Commission currently only has two staff members engaged in its monitoring efforts:
December 11, 2013 Money given to charity could be diverted to terrorists because a watchdog is not investigating abuses properly, a damning report has warned.
The Charity Commission monitors voluntary organisations over three areas of high risk: fraud, whether they safeguard beneficiaries, and counter-terrorism.
But it now has only two members of staff doing this work and just 42 probes were started last year, compared to 306 a year before the last election, increasing a ‘risk that serious concerns will go undetected’.
In a critical report, the National Audit Office spending watchdog said failings could damage public faith in good causes. The commission needs a ‘radical change of pace and rigour’, it said.
Bosses were warned to expect ‘tough questions’ when they appear before the Commons public accounts committee this month. Its chairman, Labour MP Margaret Hodge, said the report suggested the body was not ‘fit for purpose’ and ‘risks undermining public trust’ in charities.
It is an indictment of the chairmanship of so-called ‘quango queen’ Dame Suzi Leather, who left in July last year. Over her six-year reign Dame Suzi, who held a number of other public posts at the same time, attracted controversy for her criticism of independent schools. She was paid £80,000 for a three-day week.
The NAO report was prompted by MPs’ concerns at a complex tax avoidance scheme engaged in by charity The Cup Trust.
It gave just £152,292 to good causes despite trying to claim back a stunning £46million in Gift Aid from tax authorities on its £177million income.
Read the rest here.
As reported over the years by the GMBDW and its predecessor publication, the Charity Commission is the UK governmental entity which has in the past conducted several investigations of the Palestinian charity INTERPAL, which according to a NEFA Foundation report authored by the GMBDW editor, is the most important of the charities comprising the Union of Good, a coalition of charities headed by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi which helps to raise funds for Hamas. The Union of Good was banned by Israel in 2002 and in 2008 was designated a terrorist entity by the United State. INTERPAL itself had been designated by the US in 2003. Our predecessor publication has discussed the UK Charity Commission’s order that INTERPAL sever its ties with the Union of Good, likely only a formality given that Essam Mustafa, the former head of the Union of Good is still the Managing Trustee of Interpal and still has extensive dealings with the Hamas government in Gaza. In June 2011, Mustafa met with the Hamas Prime Minister of Gaza in connection with a land convoy to Gaza. The Charity Commission has long maintained that it has been “unable to verify” material linking INTERPAL to Hamas and the Daily Mail report may provide at least some clues as to why that might be.