Radio Station Investigated Over Hoarding Charity Proceeds
Wednesday, 19th October 2011 at 11:37 am
An investigation by the UK Charity Commission has found a radio station that raised money for natural disasters in Asia left the money dormant in a bank account for 7 years.
SunriseRadio – based in London – raised $245,000 (AUD) from listeners and parked it in a bank account called Sunrise Radio South East Asia Disaster Appeal where it sat unused, according to a report in the Guardian newspaper.
The charities commission referred the matter to British broadcast watchdog Ofcom who is deciding whether to investigate the matter.
Ofcom has the power to revoke the broadcaster’s license.
The station – which specialises in Asian music – held appeals after the 2004 tsunami and the 2005 Pakistan earthquake.
The Charity Commission reports there was "no evidence to suggest that the funds were at risk of misapplication" but criticised the trustees of the bank account, saying that they "did not act appropriately" by holding onto the money.
The money has now been taken from the account and given it to two registered charities working in areas hardest hit by the natural disasters.
The station said it had failed ot deliver the money because one of its presenters had not been granted the appropriate visa to go to Pakistan to present the cheque. They also said political strife in Sri Lanka was a factor in the delay.
Brendan Paddy from the Disasters Emergency Committee said: "You also need a clear plan and procedures to ensure you will be able to spend the money you raise in a timely, effective and transparent fashion."
The station says in hindsight it would have been more appropriate to provide to money to a British charity who was working in the area.