Tuesday Oct 15, 2019
LONDON: One of the biggest British Muslim charities is in a state of civil war after chairman and founder of the charity was suspended unceremoniously following differences with chief executive and others in the charity worth millions of pounds.
Adeem Younis, chairman of Wakefield based Penny Appeal, was suspended while he was in Pakistan touring sites with actress Mehwish Hayat and Dragons’ Den star James Caan.
At least two sources said that Aamer Naeem OBE, Chief Executive of Penny Appeal, was behind suspension of Adeem Younis but there was no confirmation from Naeem when contacted.
However, trusted sources within the Penny Appeal have confirmed Younis and Naeem OBE had developed differences and Younis was suspended after serious issues were brought to the attention of Chief Executive and trustees.
Sources said that while Younis and Naeem worked closely to make the charity one of the most successful British Muslims charities, the two have not seen eye to eye in recent months as differences developed over multiple issues relating to spending, finances, control of the charity, office environment and direction of the charity. Sources close to both the senior executives have traded allegations against each other and some former disgruntled staff members have taken to twitter to spill beans making allegations.
One Twitter account was taken off on Monday afternoon after inside details were leaked on the social media site. One of the officials complained to twitter that the leaked content compromised security of an individual.
Younis made his name when founded the popular dating and marriage site and then the charity Penny Appeal.
It’s understood that the decision to suspend Younis was taken while he was in Pakistan. “Locks of the office were changed to stop his entry into the building. He came to know that he has been suspended when he landed at Heathrow airport from Pakistan.”
Sources said that before Younis was suspended, a senior official at the Penny Appeal reported a “serious incident report” related to financial concerns to the Charity Commission. A source at the Charity Commission confirmed that an investigation is on going.
When contacted, a source at the charity stressed that there was no significant risk to existing operations and the charity continues to operate as normal.
“The recent decisions have been taken in the best interest of the charity. The trustees of the charity believe in transparency and it’s for the same reason that the Penny Appeal reported a concern to the Charity Commission itself. This was to ensure compliance,” said the source.
Penny Appeal is endorsed by celebrities such as British-Pakistani boxer Amir Khan and Pakistani model and actor Mehwish Hayat, and has partnerships with the Department for Education.
Award-winning Hayat was appointed ambassador of Penny Appeal in August this year. She has also announced her participation in next year's London Marathon (2020) to raise funds in aid of Penny Appeal's international education campaign. According to the Charity Commission, Penny Appeal's income for the financial year ending April 2018 was £24.6m, (Rs4.87 billion) 75 percent, of which it spent on charitable activities.