A Leighton Buzzard church is under investigation after concerns arose over its finances.
A Charity Commission – the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales – has opened the inquiry into the dealings of Into the Light Ministries.
The organisation is based in Lake Street and the commision’s investigation opened on October 11.
The charity’s objectives are to “advance the Christian faith”, “relieve sickness and financial hardship” and to “promote and preserve good health through the provision of funds, clothing or other basic essentials”.
It combines a church – meeting on Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays –with its outreach programme and is affiliated to Elim Incorporated.
But after receiving a tip-off about its finances, the commission obtained bank account records and reviewed accounts previously filed.
A spokesman for the commission said: “This revealed significant concerns regarding the charity’s accounts, potential conflicts of interest, non-primary purpose trading and public benefit, indicating a possible risk to charitable property.”
The accounts submitted for the financial year ending August 31, 2016, were also found to be non-compliant.
The Charity Commission spokesman added: “As a result we took regulatory action under section 76 of the Charities Act to safeguard the charity’s property and funds, and have opened a statutory inquiry to examine the governance, management and administration of the charity.”
The inquiry will focus particularly on whether:
> The charity has adequate control systems in place to enable the timely preparation and submission of accounting and returns.
> Any trading carried out by the charity is compliant with current legislation.
> The trustees are responsibly managing the charity’s resources and financial affairs.
> Conflicts of interests and transactions with connected parties have been adequately managed.
> Receipt of any payments and benefits to trustees and connected parties have been validly authorised.
The spokesman added: “We will also consider to what extent the charity operates for the public benefit, and whether there has been mismanagement and/or misconduct.
“The Commission stresses that opening an inquiry is not in itself a finding of wrongdoing.
“The purpose of an inquiry is to examine issues in detail, investigate and establish the facts so that the regulator can ascertain whether there has been mismanagement or misconduct.”
A report will be published after the inquiry has concluded, detailing its findings.
Companies House’s website shows that two directors resigned from the charity in July this year. The remaining two directors are Pastor Colin Kaye and Deborah Kaye.
A spokesman for Into the Light did not respond to the LBO before we went to press.