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Blackburn accountant fined after charging charity for work
12:00pm Saturday 7th June 2014 in News
A CHARITY treasurer has been fined £3,000 for charging the organisation for trustee duties.
Alan Rowntree, who is a partner at Beever and Struthers accountancy firm, in Blackburn, charged the Brian Mercer Charitable Trust £35,342 between 2002 and 2009 for the work, which is against Charity Commission guidance.
He also admitted he failed to to follow the Charity Commission advice in relation to safeguarding against a potential conflict of interest arising from acting as a trustee of the Trust while also providing professional services.
The Brian Mercer Charitable Trust gives grants to organisations including the British Liver Trust, Sightsavers International and the Royal National Institute for the Blind.
Documents on its website show it has made a donation of £25,000 to Blackburn Youth Zone and has recently given £10,000 to the East Lancashire Hospice.
It offers £50,000 a year to Eyesight, which does research into age-related macular degeneration, and £42,000 to the Royal British Society of Sculptors.
Mr Rowntree was also reprimanded by the The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and told to pay £2,809 in costs.
A spokesman for the Charity’s Commission said: “We received complaints about trustee payments and conflicts of interest within the Brian Mercer Charitable Trust.
“We gave the trustees advice about the power to pay trustees, their duties regarding decision making and their responsibility to recover payments if they have been made in breach of trust.
“We decided not to take any further action than this because there was insufficient evidence to conclude that the trustees had acted outside of their discretionary powers.
“We will only intervene in cases where there is clear evidence of serious misconduct or mismanagement.”
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