Commission seizes £20,000 from Leicester charity

The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, is looking into Leicester-based charity ANO, it has emerged.

The charity, also known as Aid for the Needy & Oppressed, says it provides relief of poverty, in particular countries affected by disasters and war, through financial support, goods and services.

In December 2016, a trustee of the charity was stopped by UK Ports Officers where cash totalling £19,300 belonging to the charity was seized. The Charity Commission says these funds are subject to a cash detention order and “are at risk of loss in the event of a successful forfeiture application”. The trustee submitted a Serious Incident Report (RSI) to the Commission regarding the incident in January 2017.

The Commission sought additional information from the charity’s trustees regarding their decision to courier the charity’s funds in cash, and exercised its powers under section 52 of the Charities Act 2011 to obtain copies of the charity’s bank statements. The Commission’s analysis of the information obtained to date has identified a number of regulatory concerns which warrant further investigation.

The investigation will consider:

– the administration, governance and management of the charity by the trustees;
– the financial controls and management of the charity and whether its funds have been properly expended solely for exclusively charitable purposes and can be accounted for;
the conduct of the trustees; and
– whether or not the trustees have complied with and fulfilled their duties and responsibilities as trustees under charity law.

On its website, ANO says its charity work is rooted in its Islamic faith. Its director is named as Umar Bin Iqbal and the charity has a shop based on Hartington Road in Leicester.

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