The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into a charity over concerns about money spent overseas and sent to related parties.
Its investigation into Asia Pacific Childrens Fund will examine concerns about the trustees’ administration and management of the charity.
The charity was established in 2008 to aid those in poverty, particularly in Asia. It is based in London but funds an orphanage in Bangladesh.
It states that the orphanage in Bangladesh is where most of its money goes. However, the Commission is concerned that the trustees cannot fully account for all its expenditure to this end, or clearly explain how the orphanage and the funds it receives are managed.
These concerns, the regulator says, exacerbated by a lack of documentary evidence and the charity’s often late statutory annual returns, are evidence of misconduct and/or mismanagement in the administration of the charity.
First engagement in 2021
It first engaged with the charity in 2021 over concerns around international cash couriering.
During compliance visits to the charity, the regulator identified a number of further concerns which represented breaches of the charity’s governing document and charity law.
The regulator obtained and analysed the charity’s bank statements and found payments to private companies linked to some of the charity’s trustees, which the Commission said trustees have been unable to sufficiently explain.
Therefore, an inquiry was opened on 3 April 2023. It will examine conflicts of interest and or loyalty and related party payments and whether or not the trustees have complied with and fulfilled their duties and responsibilities as trustee under charity law, among other issues.