Report slams charity

By Juliette MaxamA REPORT that has criticised a charity for the disabled for being “mismanaged” has been passed on to the police.The Charity Commission has published the results of a 14-month inquiry into Phab Harwich, a charity for disabled people.

By Juliette Maxam

A REPORT that has criticised a charity for the disabled for being “mismanaged” has been passed on to the police.

The Charity Commission has published the results of a 14-month inquiry into Phab Harwich, a charity for disabled people.

Phab Harwich was accused in October 2002 of financial mismanagement, sparking off the inquiry.


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A report by the Charity Commission said: “The inquiry confirmed that the charity had been mismanaged. The internal financial controls were weak.

“Some of the committee members who, according to the charity's constitution, were the trustees, were not aware of their roles and duties as trustees and had failed to carry out their responsibilities to manage and administer the charity.”

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The inquiry established that Reed in Partnership paid £67,977 to the charity for training unemployed people through the New Deal.

The money was paid into a separate bank account from the charity's main account and did not appear in the charity's accounts. The charity's auditors confirmed they had not been informed of the income.

A total of £45,130 was drawn out of the account as cheques for cash, but the report said the commission had seen no evidence that the cash had been used for charitable purposes.

The charity has been unable to carry out its activities after it accumulated a number of debts and was evicted from its premises because it had been unable to pay the rent.

During the inquiry, the Charity Commission sacked the charity's two trustees, former Tendring District Council leader Bill Mixter and Bob Scott.

It also banned them in December from becoming trustees of any other charity in the future and removed Phab Harwich from the Register of Charities.

When the Charity Commission banned Mr Mixter and Mr Scott from becoming trustees of other charities, an Essex Police investigation was launched into allegations of financial irregularities, but was halted after preliminary inquiries.

An Essex Police spokesman said yesterday: “We are looking into the report.” Neither Mr Mixter nor Mr Scott could be contacted for comment.

juliette.maxam@eadt.co.uk

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