MFM wins rare victory over Uk charity commission as tribunal quashes its order constituting interim manager as sole administrator
On 21st September 2021, the Charity Commission notified the trustees of the MFM UK that it had reviewed the Initial Order under which the Interim Manager was appointed to continue the said appointment whilst varying the terms of the Initial Order to permit the Interim Manager to manage the Charity.
To the exclusion of the trustees of the Charity. (The order as so varied is referred to as the “2021 Order”).
This 2021 Order, like its predecessor appointing the Interim Manager, provided canon fodder for further unbridled criticism and vicious maligning of MFM and its General Overseer in the social media, championed by Sahara Reporters and one Maureen Badejo, a British-based Vlogger.
On 28th September 2021, the trustees of the Charity submitted an appeal against the
decision of the Charity Commission to issue the 2021 Order.
The trustees of the Charity set out the grounds of their appeal under three headings: –
– the actions of the Respondent and his agents were generally unlawful
– the operations and actions of the Interim Manager/Respondent were procedurally unfair; and
– the decisions of the Interim Manager/Respondent were generally irrational.
The notice of appeal submitted by the trustees of the Charity (referred to as the
“Appellant” in the decision) set out in some detail the grounds on which this appeal was being brought.
The Appellant stated that the outcomes that the trustees were seeking from the appeal were as follows: Firstly, the 2021 Order should be set aside.
Ruling on the appeal, the 3-member Tribunal unanimously quashed those parts of the 2021 Order, including the Schedule, that appointed the Interim Manager to the exclusion of the Trustees.
The Tribunal directed the Charity Commission to permit the trustees of the MFM (UK) to remain in office with such powers and responsibilities as are necessary or useful to enable them to work with the Interim Manager in amending the constitution of the Charity and in implementing and operating effective systems and controls across the whole of the Charity.
By this decision, the Tribunal effectively stripped the Interim Manager of the powers of a sole administrator of the charity to the exclusion of its trustees and is therefore tantamount to a return to the status quo, where the Interim Manager continues to work hand in glove with the trustees.
The hearing lasted two days. 29/09/2022 and 03/11/2022.
As at the time of going to press, the Solicitor acting for MFM, Mr. Tayo Arowojolu of Freeman Solicitors in London could not be reached for comments.