Calpe House Limited, the company set up to take over the running of one of Gibraltar’s leading charities, has been removed from the UK’s register of charities for “repeatedly” failing to submit accounts, the UK Charity Commission confirmed yesterday.
Removal from the register is an automated process and the Commission has contacted Calpe House to have the problem resolved.
As soon as the accounts are filed, Calpe House Limited will be reinstated onto the register, the Commission added.
“Calpe House Limited was removed from the Charity Commission’s online register of charities on September 9, 2017,” a spokesperson for the Commission told the Chronicle.
“This automated process occurs when a charity repeatedly fails to submit their financial accounting information to the Commission and therefore appears to be no longer operating.”
“In the case of Calpe House Limited, we have been in correspondence with the charity trustees regarding their repeated failure to file the charity’s accounts.”
“We have received assurance from the trustees that the charity is still in operation and that the charity’s accounts will be submitted imminently.”
“The charity will be re-instated on our register once the relevant accounting information has been submitted.”
The Commission spokesperson said that while the situation was “not ideal”, this was an administrative issue that could be resolved.
However she underlined the importance of transparent accounts in the running of a charity.
“Public trust and confidence in charities is reliant on transparency and integrity, especially when it comes to financial accounts,” she said.
“This is a reminder to charity trustees that submitting accounting information to the Commission is a legal requirement and a failure to do so can lead to serious repercussions, like being removed as a registered charity or, in serious cases, regulatory action.”
Although Calpe House Limited had been dormant until earlier this year, the charity accepted it should have filed “nil returns” for earlier accounting periods in order to ensure compliance with the rules.
And while the company will be reinstated on the UK register after filing its accounts, the latest development will nonetheless fuel calls for greater transparency as to the charity’s affairs and how Calpe House is run.
Calpe House has faced intense scrutiny relating to its £8.5m purchase of new buildings in Norfolk Square and a £4.8m refurbishment project, both financed using government loans and contributions raised by the community.
The buildings were purchased by the Calpe House Charitable Trust, a UK-registered charity that has run the affairs of Calpe House since it was established in the early 1990s.
Last week the UK Charity Commission told the Chronicle it had looked into the purchase of the new buildings by the trust, which is still registered as a UK charity.
“The Commission opened a case into the Calpe House Charitable Trust after concerns were raised regarding a property purchase by the charity,” a spokesperson for the UK Charity Commission told the Chronicle at the time.
“From the information provided, we are satisfied at this time that the trustees have acted with reasonable care and that the purchase of the property at Norfolk Square was in the interests of the charity.”
The Gibraltar Government also confirmed it had been consulted at every stage of the purchase and had no concerns about the charity or the Norfolk Square buildings.
But while the UK Charity Commission and the Gibraltar Government are satisfied that the purchase of the new buildings was handled properly and was in the interests of the charity, the latest setback will do little to dispel concerns about the charity’s administration.
Last week, Independent MP Marlene Hassan Nahon wrote to the charity’s trustees and enclosed a 16-page document asking detailed questions about the decision taken by the charity in respect of Norfolk Square and, more broadly, about the way it runs its affairs.
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