Human Appeal CEO sacked for gross misconduct

Othman Moqbel

The chief executive of Muslim charity Human Appeal has been sacked for gross misconduct following an investigation into financial irregularities.

The Times reports that Othman Moqbel was dismissed by the Manchester-based charity this month after a disciplinary hearing.

Two other executives, Zahid Rehman, director of communications, and Razaul Karim, head of campaigns, have resigned after being suspended.

“A disciplinary hearing based on evidence from the exhaustive inquiry highlighted a number of acts or omissions by Mr Moqbel which amounted to gross misconduct and he has this month been dismissed,” a charity spokesman said.

“No evidence has yet emerged to suggest that money has been stolen. The auditor’s inquiry commissioned by trustees reviewed more than 500,000 documents and emails. It has prompted a root-and-branch review of all Human Appeal accounts covering the last three financial years and we hope the findings ultimately reinforce this assertion.”

Human Appeal describes itself as an international relief and development agency that this year worked in 24 countries, providing humanitarian aid that saves and transforms lives.

A spokesman said: “Human Appeal has been saving lives and fighting poverty in the world’s most desperate communities for more than 25 years and we will not allow anything – or anyone – to distract us from this mission or undermine the trust placed in us by our donors.

“That is why, when allegations about a series of financial and governance issues emerged from within the organisation earlier this year, trustees immediately suspended the chief executive Othman Moqbel, alerted the Charity Commission and appointed one of Britain’s leading specialist auditors to investigate the claims.

“A disciplinary hearing based on evidence from the exhaustive inquiry highlighted a number of acts or omissions by Mr Moqbel which amounted to gross misconduct and he has this month been dismissed (subject to his right of appeal).”

Following his dismissal Mr Moqbel is now preparing proceedings against the charity.

A statement from his lawyers said the dismissal had come as a “shock to him and many others” and described the inquiry as a “whitewash”.

“The investigation was based on wholly inaccurate details and considerations,” they added. “He very much regrets not being able to say more about the . . . investigation which led to him being dismissed in such an unfair and summary way.”

Human Appeal is now the subject of an inquiry by the Charity Commission into poor administration, failures to account for funds and breaching the charity’s policies and procedures.

The Charity Commission said it had opened a statutory inquiry into Human Appeal  “ To investigate serious concerns about its administration, including failures to account for the charity’s funds and failures to adhere to the charity’s policies and procedures”.

The inquiry began on April 18 and a report will be published at its conclusion.

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