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Educational charity wound up over ‘reckless’ spending

A charity, supporting education in Jamaica, has failed to show how charitable funds were spent and has been wound up, the Charity Commission has said.

Educational charity wound up over ‘reckless’ spending
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  • Staff Reporter
  • September 24, 2019
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Claims by the trustees of Grove Mountain that they were building a bathroom and installing IT suites at Jamaican schools could not be proven, prompting the Charity Commission to take action and open an inquiry. 

The regulator found two trustees responsible for serious misconduct and mismanagement in the administration of the charity Grove Mountain, and removed them as trustees. The charity has now been wound-up.

During its investigation, the Charity Commissions found that money was gifted to the charity via collection boxes and donations from the public to buy books that were allegedly shipped for libraries and computer equipment for primary schools to Jamaica. 

The charity’s Facebook page also claimed the charity was building a bathroom facility and an ICT suite for an unnamed school, or schools, in Jamaica.

However, the Commission’s inquiry found that the trustees had no records of any beneficiaries of the charity and no evidence any of the activities stated online by the charity had actually taken place; that computer equipment had been purchased, but none actually delivered to beneficiaries; and that the charity’s financial controls were inadequate. 

Additionally, the trustees did not submit an annual return, accounts or an annual report to the Commission for the financial year ending April 2017, in breach of their legal obligations. 

"When the public generously give to a cause they care about, they expect their money to be carefully managed to ensure it reaches the people who need it most.

"Instead, some of the trustees of Grove Mountain were reckless with these funds, acting against Commission guidance by spending cash on undocumented purchases and using money donated through collection boxes as their own. This was a gross misuse of charity," said Amy Spiller, head of the investigations team, at the Charity Commission.

Ms Spiller added that the Commission's intervention has allowed the remaining charitable funds to go towards supporting children in Jamaica.

 

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