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Capricorn Animal Rescue has bank accounts frozen as Charity Commission launch investigation into ‘serious regulatory issues’

The Charity Commission has launched an inquiry into Flintshire-based Capricorn Animal Rescue due to “on-going serious regulatory issues.”

The charity has had its bank accounts frozen to ‘protect assets’ while the Commission conducts a ‘statutory inquiry’ under the legal framework of section 46 of the charities act.

The inquiry was opened on 9 February 2017 according to a statement released today.

The charity takes animals into care that have no homes, are injured or neglected, and aims to rehouse the animals or release them back into the wild once they are fully recovered and treated.

The charity hit the headlines when BBC Wales investigation for the Week In Week Out programme exposed poor conditions at Capricorn Animal Rescue in Padeswood.

Undercover

An undercover volunteer filmed animals kept in dirty conditions, overcrowding and some animals having no access to water.

Animal expert Mike Jessop told the BBC “Some of the lack of water is truly concerning – I would be very, very worried about the fact that these animals weren’t having regular access to water and also aren’t being kept clean enough. Those are the key areas that bother me with the footage I’ve seen.”

The sanctuary’s manager declined to be interviewed for the programme.

Protests by former volunteers, staff and those concerned about the welfare of animals and alleged mismanagement of funds have been going on for months outside the charity’s shop on Mold.

A statement released today by the UK Government’s charity watchdog says:

After receiving a number of complaints from the public as well as significant media and parliamentary interest about the charity in 2016, the Commission initially provided regulatory advice and guidance to the trustees on how to improve the charity’s governance.

The Commission monitored the charity’s compliance with this guidance and visited the charity in October 2016 and subsequently inspected the charity’s books and records.

Our engagement established that there were clear and on-going serious regulatory issues relating to the administration of the charity by the trustees.

These included inadequate financial controls, failure to safeguard and properly account for the charity’s assets, potential unauthorised trustee benefit and the trustees’ failure to act on regulatory advice.

The inquiry will examine:

  • the administration, governance and management of the charity
  • whether there has been any unauthorised benefit to the trustees of the charity
  • whether the trustees have properly exercised their duties and responsibilities under charity law in the administration of the charity and in particular their
  • duty to account for the charity’s funds

In order to protect the assets of the charity, the Commission has taken steps to freeze the charity’s bank accounts under section 76(3)(d) of the Charities Act 2011.

The Commission is aware that the charity has been the subject of concerns from members of the public relating to the welfare of animals in the charity’s care; this does not fall within the Commission’s remit.

It is the Commission’s policy, after it has concluded an inquiry, to publish a report detailing what issues the inquiry looked at, what actions were undertaken as part of the inquiry and what the outcomes were.