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August 5, 2019

Charity Commission steps in to Mountain of Fire

The Charity Commission has appointed Adam Stephens, partner, restructuring and recovery of Smith & Williamson to the role of interim manager to Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries International. In March 2018, the Commission had opened a statutory inquiry to look into a number of concerns at the charity. These included repeated late filing of financial information, and a failure in the administration which resulted in opportunities for significant losses to the charity to occur.

The Commission is concerned over the trustees’ unwillingness to report serious incidents. The inquiry found two alleged incidents of fraud by former employees involving significant sums, both of which were not reported until a number of years after the frauds were discovered. While a small percentage of the stolen funds have been recovered, the charity continues to suffer a significant loss. In addition to this, the Commission has serious concerns over the charity’s chair of trustees and his personal handling of serious incidents.

The Commission also has questions over the governance of the charity. Three trustees are paid, which is in breach of the charity’s governing document and causes conflict when employment matters are discussed.

Despite the Commission’s continued engagement the trustees are still not complying with their legal duties, this includes failing to submit accurate financial accounts on time. The Commission therefore appointed an interim manager with effect from 1 August 2019, whose remit includes reviewing the charity’s financial and governance processes, inspecting a number of the charity’s branches and their handling of serious incidents. The interim manager assumes these duties at the exclusion of the charity’s trustees; the trustees retain control over matters relating to religious activities.

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