Charity watchdog wins court action against Tannochside charity

Scotia Aid is under investigation

Scotia Aid is under investigation

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Scotland’s charity watchdog has won a court order to freeze the assets and suspend the trustees of a Tannochside-based charity.

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) successfully petitioned the Court of Session to appoint a Judicial Factor to control the administration of Scotia Aid Sierra Leone.

The charity was set up in 2010 with the aim of helping impoverished children, but now faces an investigation into a business rates loophole it may have been using to raise funds.

It has been claimed Scotia Aid pays just 13p to good causes out of every £1 it raises and that officials were cutting deals to take on empty and expensive warehouses in return for sizeable donations.

The court has appointed Emma Porter of Aver Chartered Accountants as Interim Judicial Factor.

An interim interdict against the charity prevents it from selling, leasing or otherwise disposing of any of its property.

In addition there is an interim suspension of the charity’s trustees from the management and control of the charity and an interim order freezing the charity’s bank account.

A report published by OSCR stated: “While our inquiries are still ongoing, on the basis of the information we have gathered so far, we are concerned that there is misconduct in the administration of the charity, and it is necessary for us to take action to protect its assets.”

OSCR’s head of enforcement Laura Anderson believes the regulator’s action demonstrated its commitment to protecting charity assets and reinforcing public confidence:

She said: “Our experience is that charities in Scotland are generally well run, and we remain committed to supporting and encouraging those running them to meet their legal duties.

“But this case shows that where we identify sufficient cause for concern, we will take action - including court action - to ensure that the public’s confidence in charities and their work is maintained.”