Charity Commission opens inquiry into Viva Palestina

Accounts for Viva Palestina, a charity set up by the Respect Party MP in 2009, are long overdue, according to the regulator

The Charity Commission has launched a statutory inquiry into a charity launched by George Galloway, the Respect Party MP for Bradford West.

Viva Palestina, also known as Lifeline for Gaza, was founded as a fundraising appeal by Galloway in January 2009 to provide food to help alleviate suffering in Gaza. It registered as a charity in April 2009 after receiving advice from the commission.

The charityís entry on the Charity Commission website shows that it has not filed accounts with the regulator since it registered. Its accounts for the year ending 31 July 2010 are almost 800 days overdue, according to the commissionís website.

A spokeswoman for the commission said the regulator had opened a statutory inquiry into the charity on 6 June this year. One of the issues being examined by the inquiry was the charityís overdue accounts, she said.

The spokeswoman said she could not comment further on the inquiry but, as with all inquiries, the regulator would publish a statement of results within three months of concluding its investigation.

The commission previously launched an inquiry into the appeal, before its registration as a charity, to ensure that all the money raised was used for charitable purposes.

The commissionís report, published in March 2010, found that the appeal had been mismanaged and did not raise as much money as it had claimed it did.