Help Africa, a UK charity that claimed to assist victims of war and natural disaster, has been removed from the government’s charity register after being found guilty of gift aid fraud, with one worker receiving an eight month suspended jail sentence.
Failed to help people in need
In April 2013, Help Africa executives failed to give evidence to HMRC when questioned about how it was using its funding, which prompted a full-scale investigation from the financial watchdog.
A case report from the Charity Commission subsequently found that there was no evidence to support its gift aid applications, uncovering that the charity failed to use funds on helping African citizens.
The charity regulator also found that two of the group’s trustees were actually found not to be trustees.
Two people involved with the charity were brought to court, with one being a trustee.
The trustee pleaded guilty to the charges and subsequently received no punishment, but the other individual denied the charges against him and received an eight month suspended jail sentence and was given 200 hours of unpaid work to complete.
‘‘Established and operated for non-charitable private benefit’’
In August, Help Africa was struck off from the register with the commission stating that Help Africa ‘‘appeared to have been established and operated for non-charitable private benefit.’’
‘‘No other individuals were identified, during the investigation, as having played a role at the charity, for example as volunteer fundraisers or administrators,’’ continued the commission.
Help Africa is not the only charity to be under the spotlight for fraudulent activities. Last month, Charity Digital News reported that The Kids Company, which folded amid controversy over its management in August, was given at least £46m of public funds.
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