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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 October 2006, 05:50 GMT 06:50 UK
Watchdog called into mosque row
Madina Mosque, Cardiff
About 56,000 was collected at Cardiff's Madina mosque
The Charity Commission has been asked to investigate a dispute at Wales' biggest mosque over aid money collected after the 2005 Pakistan earthquake.

About 56,000 was collected at Cardiff's Madina mosque for victims of the quake in which 75,000 people died.

The mosque's management committee says all money is accounted for, but there are calls for greater transparency.

The Charity Commission is carrying out a preliminary inquiry before deciding whether to launch a full investigation.

Last weekend was the first anniversary of the south Asia earthquake, which caused devastation in northern Pakistan and India.

Mosques across Wales acted as the centre-points for fund-raising with items of clothing collected and large amounts of cash donations were handed over.

At the Madina Mosque in Cathays in Cardiff, a total of 56,000 was collected.

The commission takes allegations of this nature very seriously
Charity Commission statement

The members of the mosque's management committee said 33,000 was used to buy medical equipment - including a ventilator - at two hospitals in Pakistan.

They also said 14,000 was used for buying jackets, while 9,000 was sent to the Pakistan High Commission in London to be used for the relief effort.

The members of the committee claim to have all the evidence and receipts to prove the transactions were above board.

They are now putting together an internal audit, which they have said will be presented to the trustees and added that the evidence will be scrutinised by an external company.

But some members of the mosque have claimed the committee has not been forthcoming enough with evidence of where the money was spent and have called in regulatory body the Charity Commission to investigate.

The complainants have said that a year after the earthquake, they are only now getting to the bottom of how the money was spent and have said it is essential the dispute is cleared up or people will be reluctant to give them charitable money in the future.

They have called for independent auditors to be brought in as soon as possible.

Collapsed building in Islamabad
The earthquake killed 75,000 people across south Asia

Mohammed Humayun Nasser said he wanted to see a "full formal inquiry".

"We would like the charity commission to investigate to see how the organisation is running, to see where the funds are being used," he said.

But mosque chairman Asghar Javed Ali, a Cardiff councillor, said he was "absolutely satisfied" the money had been spent correctly.

"They've got every penny accounted for," he said.

"Some people within our community think that we don't have proof on what we've spent it, but we've got proof - we've got a receipt of every penny we've spent."

The Charity Commission confirmed it had been asked to launch an investigation.

A statement read: "The Charity Commission is aware of a dispute between members of the Madina mosque in Cardiff and that allegations of financial irregularities have been made.

"The commission is currently looking into the circumstances of these claims and will then decide whether the evidence warrants the opening of a formal inquiry and any exercise of its regulatory powers.

No-confidence vote

"The commission takes allegations of this nature very seriously.

"However, as the regulator of charities in England and Wales, we must ensure that we use our legal powers on the basis of evidence."

The row over the 56,000 is the latest episode in a serious dispute at the mosque.

Last month, a meeting was arranged to call for a vote of no-confidence in the elected committee running the mosque.

In turn, the management committee say they have the support of the majority of members of the mosque and say the allegations have only been made by a minority.




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