The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into the Central Gurdwara (British Isles) London Khalsa Jatha, over concerns that the charity’s trustees have failed to address apparent failings in its financial controls, financial irregularities and governance failures
In December 2012 the Commission opened an operational compliance case into the charity, whose aims include advancement of the Sikh religion, the maintenance of a Gurdwara, and education and social welfare facilities primarily intended for members of the Sikh community in the UK but also available to members of the public at large.
The Commission says this revealed that an on-going internal dispute between the trustees which had resulted in them not sharing the financial and management information need to administer the charity properly. Its accounts show an annual income of around £160,000 a year.
The trustees subsequently failed to comply fully with an action plan issued by the Commission, which also identified concerns relating to the management of properties owned and rented by the charity, including allegations that there had been a private benefit to a trustee whose company was responsible for renovating the charity’s properties. It was not clear to the Commission how the owning and renting of property was in furtherance of the charity’s purposes.
The Commission says concern over the trustees’ apparent unwillingness to take the necessary action to protect the charity and remedy the regulatory concerns to its satisfaction has meant it has opened a statutory inquiry.
As well as assessing the financial management of the charity, this inquiry will look at why the trustees failed to fully comply with the action plan; whether there has been any private benefit to trustees with regard to the operation of the charity’s properties and whether any conflicts of interest have been properly managed; whether the trustees have made decisions in the best interests of the charity; and whether there has been any misconduct and/or mismanagement.
The Commission says it will issue a report on its findings in due course.
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