Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Regulator investigates charity funding orphanage in Bangladesh [May 2023]

The press release issued by the Charity Commission on 12 May 2023.

The Charity Commission launches inquiry into Asia Pacific Childrens Fund over concerns about money spent overseas and sent to related parties.

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into Asia Pacific Childrens Fund to examine concerns about the trustees’ administration and management of the charity, including around payments to connected parties and overseas expenditure.

The charity was established in 2008 to aid those in poverty, particularly in Asia. It is based in London but funds an orphanage in Bangladesh.

The Commission first engaged with the charity in 2021 on a proactive basis over concerns around international cash couriering. During compliance visits to the charity, the regulator identified a number of further concerns which represented breaches of the charity’s governing document and charity law.

The Commission used its powers to obtain and analyse the charity’s bank statements and found payments to private companies linked to some of the charity’s trustees, which the trustees have been unable to sufficiently explain.

As part of its purposes, the charity states that it funds an orphanage in Bangladesh, and this is where most of its money goes. However, the Commission is concerned that the trustees cannot fully account for all its expenditure to this end, or clearly explain how the orphanage and the funds it receives are managed.

These concerns, exacerbated by a lack of documentary evidence and the charity’s often late statutory annual returns, are evidence of misconduct and/or mismanagement in the administration of the charity. Therefore, an inquiry was opened on 3 April 2023. It will examine the following regulatory issues:

  • the administration, governance and management of the charity by the trustees
  • conflicts of interest and or loyalty and related party payments
  • financial controls and management of the charity and whether its funds have been properly expended solely for the exclusive charitable purposes and can be accounted for
  • whether or not the trustees have complied with and fulfilled their duties and responsibilities as trustee under charity law

The Commission may extend the scope of the inquiry if additional regulatory issues emerge.

It is the Commission’s policy to publish a report upon concluding an inquiry to detail its findings, conclusions, and any regulatory action taken.