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Christian charity investigated again over finances

by Aaron James

The Charity Commission's launched an inquiry into the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) New Life Assembly, which is based in Barnet, North London.

The charity is part of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, a denomination founded in Nigeria which also has churches in the UK and other countries.

The Commission, which is the independent regulator for charities in England and Wales, has accused the RCCG New Life Assembly of "repeatedly defaulting on the submission of annual accounting information." This means RCCG has not submitted the appropriate paperwork on its finances on several occasions.

According to the Charity Commission's website, RCCG New Life Assembly has failed to submit the annual financial records for 2013 before the ten-month deadline. It is still within time to submit its accounts for 2014.

The charity has failed to submit its accounts on time every year since 2009. Its income has also decreased by more than £300,000 from 2009 to 2012, when it last submitted its annual accounts.

RCCG was part of a previous Charity Commission inquiry in August 2014, which included charities which had failed to submit their annual accounts at least two times. It was taken out of this inquiry in October 2014, when it submitted the appropriate information.

The charity watchdog says that in this inquiry, RCCG New Life Assembly trustees told them the charity "would shortly be closing or merging with another charity, and that this had been a factor in the failure to submit required documents on time."

However it says it hasn't received any details of the charity either combining with another or stopping altogether.

A Charity Commission spokesperson said: "There is no excuse for charities to be late when they have 10 months to prepare and are reminded at regular intervals by us. It's a good idea to file when you're ready, rather than leave it until the last minute.

"Those charities that do file late are letting down the majority of those who file on time and take full financial accountability towards the public, donors and their supporters.

"It's a shame that the minority risk their reputations and let down the many who follow their legal duties and responsibilities with care, at a critical time when the public expects full transparency on how charities spend their money.

"We know that 96 per cent of people say it is important to them that charities provide the public with information about how they spend their money, and that's the bottom line.

"It's also a criminal offence not to file on time and late submissions will raise serious concerns with us. Trustees should be making absolutely sure that their organisation is remaining accountable to the public."

RCCG did not provide any form of comment when requested by Premier.

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