Charity trustee stole £240K and bought a property with it

The Buckinghamshire-based charity GTC has been removed from the register of charities and its sole trustee has been disqualified from charity trusteeship after he stole around £240,000.

The Charity Commission launched a probe into GTC in December 2018 over concerns about the charity’s governance and financial management. The charity’s purpose was to relieve poverty in the UK, mainly in the area around Aylesbury.

Investigators used legal powers to obtain bank records and established that around £240,000 was transferred from the charity’s bank account to Ahtiq Raja’s private account.

The funds were then used to purchase a property although they have now been repaid.

In October 2019 Raja was found guilty of theft at Northampton Crown Court and was later sentenced to a 24-month community order.

As a result of his conviction, he is now automatically disqualified from acting as a trustee or from holding a senior management role in any charity in England and Wales. Mr Raja will remain disqualified until his conviction becomes spent in January 2023.

The inquiry also found that poor governance, in particular the lack of monitoring and oversight of Mr Raja, played a key part in the sequence of events that subsequently led to his conviction for theft.

The charity no longer operates and was removed from the register of charities on 9 April 2020.

Amy Spiller, Head of Investigation Teams at the Charity Commission said: “Charity represents the best of human characteristics – that’s why the behaviour of charities matter. This charity was set up to improve the lives of people suffering financial hardship, but sadly this individual betrayed those good intentions.

“Our investigation uncovered appalling behaviour by someone who was in a position of trust, and it is right that they have been held to account for their actions. This case also exposed what can go wrong when there is a lack of oversight and poor governance within a charity.”

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