PENNY APPEAL: Watchdog confirms serious incident reported relating to ‘potential financial concerns’

Adeem Younis

The Charity Commission has confirmed it has had a serious incident reported, relating to potential financial concerns at the charity Penny Appeal. We contacted the trustees for further information, which they have provided, and are currently assessing this information. While this is ongoing we are unable to comment further.”

Penny Appeal’s founder and chairman Adeem Younis was earlier this week suspended from the charity, following internal disputes in the organisation.

Penny Appeal, based in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, is endorsed by celebrities such as British-Pakistani boxer Amir Khan and Pakistani model and actress Mehwish Hayat, and has partnerships with the Department for Education.

Boxer Amir Khan endorsed Penny Appeal, pictured here with founder Adeem Younis

Rows

It is understood that at least two senior executives of the charity have rowed with each other regularly in recent months over finances, spending, and the contracts signed involving celebrities.


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Reports state that a senior figure at the charity attempted a ‘coup’ while the charity’s founder, Adeem Younis, was on a visit to Pakistan with Dragons’ Den Star James Caan and actress Mehwish Hayat.

Sources state that Adeem Younis has been suspended. Asian Express spoke with Penny Appeal to confirm this, but as yet they have neither confirmed nor denied this information.

On the matter of Younis’s suspension, Penny Appeal said: “Penny Appeal is unable to comment at this stage as regards a self referral made to the Charity Commission.

“An internal investigation has yet to report to the Board of Trustees, and any comment at this stage will prejudice the inquiry. At this stage the Board can confirm there is no significant risk to existing operations.”

Award-winning Mehwish Hayat was appointed ambassador of Penny Appeal in August this year. She has also announced her participation in next year’s London Marathon (2020) to raise funds in aid of Penny Appeal’s international education campaign.

Serious Incident Report

The government department announced that trustees of the charity, which provides aid for crisis-hit countries, had submitted a ‘serious incident report’.

A spokesman of the Charity Commission said: “In line with our guidance, the trustees of Penny Appeal submitted a serious incident report to the Commission, relating to potential financial concerns at the charity.

“We contacted the trustees for further information, which they have provided, and are currently assessing this information.

“While this is ongoing we are unable to comment further.”

Under the Charities Act, it is the legal obligation of trustees to report serious incidents to the Charity Commission.

Reportable Incidents

According to the Charity Commission, the main categories of reportable incidents are: protecting people and safeguarding incidents – incidents that have resulted in or risk significant harm to beneficiaries and other people who come into contact with the charity through its work; financial crimes – fraud, theft, cyber-crime and money laundering; links to terrorism or extremism, including ‘proscribed’ (or banned) organisations, individuals subject to an asset freeze, or kidnapping of staff; and significant data breaches/losses or incidents involving partners that materially affect the charity.

Rumours

It was reported that the headquarter of the charity in Wakefield was raided, but a spokesman at the charity quashed such rumours.

The spokesperson said: “We have been made aware that messages are circulating on social media about Penny Appeal.

“Penny Appeal continues to operate as usual and is not the subject of regulatory intervention nor has there been a raid at our offices.

“Penny Appeal has made a self-referral to the Charity Commission and we can not make any further comment at this stage.

“In line with advice from the Center for Countering Digital Hate we will not be engaging with any defamatory and misleading content posted on any anonymous social media accounts. These are however, being referred to legal counsel and legal action shall be taken where necessary.”

Prominence

Younis was awarded Young Director of the Year by Yorkshire’s Institute of Directors.

Younis has risen to prominence, having founded the successful dating and marriage business SingleMuslim.com and then the charity Penny Appeal, which has a major presence on British Muslim TV.

The charity Penny Appeal was set up in 2009 by Younis.

The charity claims that it offers assistance for providing food, water, and medical supplies to countries across the world.

The charity has a multi-million-pound turnover every year and employs hundreds of staff.

Penny Appeal Accounts

According to the Charity Commission, Penny Appeal’s income for the financial year ending April 2018 was £24.6m, 75 per cent of which it spent on charitable activities.


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