Page last updated at 07:41 GMT, Wednesday, 1 April 2009 08:41 UK

Trustee suspended in terror probe

Arms haul at Bhola
Bangladeshi police discovered the haul last month

A senior figure in a British charity has been suspended after an arms cache was found at a school in Bangladesh.

The weapons were found at an Islamic school - or madrassa - in Bhola run by the Green Crescent charity, which is based in Stockport, Greater Manchester.

The Charity Commission has now formally suspended trustee Faisal Mostafa, and will later consider permanent removal.

Speaking last week, his family said Dr Mostafa, whose whereabouts is unknown, had done nothing wrong.

Last month Bangladeshi officials said they found a number of weapons at the madrassa, located on a remote river island, and believe it was being used for militant training.

The Charity Commission subsequently announced it was "seriously concerned" by the discovery of the weapons and launched an investigation.

Vetting procedures

The bank accounts of Green Crescent have also been frozen, the commission confirmed.

The commission's website said that in 2008, Green Crescent had a turnover approaching £70,000 ($102,733).

A spokesman said: "The commission will always consider seriously the position of any trustee convicted of a serious offence, and its impact on their suitability to continue in their role with a charity.

"The case also emphasises the importance of ensuring charity trustees carry out proper and thorough vetting procedures on prospective and current trustees, and that there is enhanced liaison between the Charity Commission as charity regulator and the law enforcement agencies responsible for investigating criminal offences.

"The commission's published counter-terrorism strategy sets out clearly that its stance on concerns about the involvement of charities with terrorist activity is unequivocal - it is unacceptable and trustees must take all reasonable steps to ensure their charity is not abused."

Last year, Dr Mostafa was convicted of possessing dangerous articles on an aircraft after trying to take a gas-powered pistol on a flight at Manchester Airport.

He was sentenced him to 56 days in prison, suspended for two years, ordered him to undertake 100 hours of unpaid work and pay £250 prosecution costs.

He was cleared of conspiracy to cause explosions with intent to endanger life after a trial at Birmingham Crown Court in 2002.



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