Regulator investigates £800k charity transfer

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into Devon Charitable Trust, a Harrow-based charity, over concerns about the transfer of thousands of pounds of funds to a trustee’s bank account and the handling of donations

Since August 2018, the Commission has been looking into the charity, which exists to relieve poverty and advance religion throughout the UK and world-wide, amid serious concerns about its management and administration.

This escalated into a formal statutory inquiry when analysis of the charity’s bank statements revealed that over £850,000 of charitable funds had been transferred to the bank account of one of the charity’s trustees.

The regulator says it remains unclear as to why the transfers were made or how they furthered the charity’s purposes. Furthermore, the Commission has concerns that donations are not being deposited into the charity’s accounts appropriately. The regulator has therefore frozen the charity’s bank account to safeguard the remainder of the charity’s funds.

Amongst other issues, including the failure to file accounts on time, the Commission also has concerns about the impact of potential conflicts of interest on the trustee board.

The Commission’s inquiry will examine the extent to which the trustees have and are complying with their legal duties in respect of the administration, governance and management of the charity.

It will also look at how trustees are safeguarding the charity’s assets and the processes for preparing and filing accounting information, as well as the extent to which the charity has compiled with previously issued regulatory guidance.

It is the Commission’s policy, after it has concluded an inquiry, to publish a report detailing the issues the inquiry looked at, what actions were undertaken and what the outcomes were.

Pat Sweet

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