Charity Commission Launches Inquiry Into The Organisation Of Blind Africans

Charity Commission Launches Inquiry Into The Organisation Of Blind Africans

By Ben Kerrigan-

The Charity Commission has launched a statutory inquiry into the Organisation of Blind Africans and Caribbeans to examine potential serious wrongdoing by an individual involved in the control of the charity. These regulatory concerns have been exacerbated by significant difficulties in obtaining information from the trustees.

The charity was initially registered with the Commission in 1994, and re-registered in 2011 after incorporating as a charitable company. The charity provides services, education and training to people who are blind or partially sighted in the UK, Africa and the Caribbean.

The Commission said it has attempted to engage with the charity to explore concerns around potential wrongdoing and/or abuse by a senior employee since 2021, but has repeatedly met with difficulties in obtaining information and cooperation from the trustees and multiple instances of non-compliance, including with an Order issued under section 52 of the Charities Act.

The Commission declined to tell The Eye Of Media.Com what difficulties it has encountered with the charity, stating that it could does disclose at this stage because it had not made a finding yet.

The Charity purports to deliver Health and general wellbeing services, including Welfare Rights, Benefits, digital skills training, and training in Tribunal and Advocacy.

However, Blind charities are no stranger to fraudulently having corrupt staff who keep a much higher percentage of the money they have earned, rather than using it for the purposes they purport it would serve. Its benevolent conduct comes with potential exploitation, as  The majority are above board and actively give a lot of the money give to the blind, after the top guys have been paid well.

In 2012, a charity boss admitted stealing more than £120,000 of funds meant to help blind and partially sighted people in Coventry.

Tyrone Pooley illegally siphoned off funds from his charity, based in Cheylesmore, and used the money to feed his gambling addiction, a court has heard.

The 59-year-old first stole £60,000 from the Fund for the Blind and Partially Sighted in 2006, when he was a trustee of the charity.

He then lied to the Charity Commission after failing to transfer the cash to the designated account in December 2008, and stole a further £61,422.39 in 2009, Coventry Crown Court was told.

Statutory Inquiry

The Committee said that the underlying concerns about this individual’s continued involvement in the charity and the trustees’ ongoing failures to properly engage with the regulator have resulted in the Commission’s decision to open a statutory inquiry.

The inquiry was opened on 15 December 2022 and will examine:

The administration, governance and management of the charity by the trustees.
Whether the trustees have complied with and fulfilled their duties and responsibilities as trustees under charity law; in particular whether they exercise sufficient oversight over the charity’s activities and executive leadership.

Whether there has been any misconduct and/or mismanagement by the trustees.
The Commission may extend the scope of the inquiry if additional regulatory issues emerge.

It is the Commission’s policy, after it has concluded an inquiry, to publish a report detailing issues the examined, the action undertaken, and the inquiry’s outcomes.

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