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The Charity Commission has launched an investigation into an education charity due to “serious financial concerns”.

The regulator said it was looking into the Abu Bakr Trust because of concerns about the charity’s governance, debt levels, financial reporting and mismanagement.

The Walsall-based charity, which runs four independent schools and a mosque, is more than 240 days late in filing its accounts for the year to the end of August 2022.

It also filed its accounts for the previous year, which were qualified by accountants, more than three weeks late.

The charity reported a total income of £2m in 2021/22, its entry on the Charity Commission’s online register shows.

The regulator said its inquiry into the charity would examine trustees’ governance and management of the trust, including their failure to ensure annual returns were filed on time.

The commission previously engaged with Abu Bakr trustees in 2020 and 2022 about its governance and financial management.

A spokesperson for the Abu Bakr Trust said: “The new trustees took over in mid- to late 2022 and majority of the information required to file the accounts lies with the previous trustees who unfortunately have been severely affected by Covid-19 and post-Covid related issues impacting their health.

“The new trustees have not taken any loans at all and are trying to put measures in place to ensure things are put back on track.”

The spokesperson said: “Being a very large charity, this year is the full first year the new trustees are in business and working along with the former trustees to bring records up to date.

“The Charity Commission has been kept informed of the above-mentioned issues facing the new trustees as they heavily rely on the former trustees to work out accurate information.”

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