Stoppers

The Mariam Appeal

Here is the full press release issued by the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on its “Report on Oil Allocations Granted to Charles Pasqua & George Galloway.”

The ‘children’s cancer charity’ mentioned in the Galloway case is almost certainly the Mariam Appeal which was investigation by The Charities Commission last year.

Galloway spins that he was cleared entirely by the investigation. Well, the wonderful thing about the internet is that the findings are online in full here.

Of possible interest is this section:

9. The Commission concluded that those persons who founded the Appeal were unaware that they had created a charity. The founders had received legal advice, that the Commission considers to be in error, that the Constitution did not create a charity.

10. The Commission used powers under Section 8 and Section 9 of the Act to obtain details of the opening of the Appeal’s bank accounts, the signatories on the various mandates and the receipt and payment of funds.

11. Apart from public donations it was established that the major funders of the Appeal were the United Arab Emirates, a donor from Saudi Arabia and a Jordanian Businessman Fawaz Zuriekat.

12. The Commission has been unable to obtain all the books and records of the Appeal. Mr Galloway, the first Chairman of the Appeal, has stated that this documentation was sent to Amman and Baghdad in 2001 when Fawaz Zuriekat became Chairman of the Appeal. Mr Galloway has informed the Commission that this documentation is no longer under the control of the original trustees of the Appeal and cannot be located by them. Mr Galloway confirmed that the Appeal did not produce annual profit and loss accounts or balance sheets.

13. The Commission received assurances from Mr Galloway that the monies received by him from the Appeal related to expenses incurred in his duties as Chairman of the Appeal.

Update: Here is the Senate report (PDF file). It is well worth spending some time reading the Galloway section. This stuff has nothing to do with the Daily Telegraph allegations by the way. The Mariam Appeal is mentioned by name in the documents cited.

Here is Galloway’s statement.

One question – why did the Mariam Appeal send its documentation out of the UK and to Amman and Baghdad in 2001?

Further update: Here is Galloway’s interview with Jeremy Paxman from 2003 when he discusses his links with the Ba’athist regime and with the businessman Fawaz Zureikat. (Video and transcript).

A thought: What is new in these charges? We already knew that the Mariam Appeal was funded, in part, by Zureikat’s donations and that he was a businessman with links to the Saddam regime. What is new in this document is the presence of Galloway named as individual in oil contracts and the presence of his name in relation to two companies.

But leaving aside, for the moment, the report’s detailing of allegations of Galloway’s direct and personal involvement there are still a number of doubts surrounding the Mariam Appeal.

The Mariam Appeal was a political campaign led by Galloway and the MP has already admitted that it was funded by Zureikat’s donations. What is not yet fully clear but which this report sheds some light on, is to what extent Zureikat’s money came from favours from Saddam.

There is also a huge question mark over what the Mariam Appeal spent this money on, given they didn’t produce a financial statement and that their documents were sped out of the country in 2001.

I’d like to hear Galloway answer questions about those issues rather than bluster about charges that no-one has actually made against him.

In his interview with Paxman Galloway was asked about the Mariam Appeal’s finances:

JEREMY PAXMAN:
Will you open the accounts?

GEORGE GALLOWAY:
Yes.

But, as far as I am aware, Galloway has not opened the accounts. Surely the media should be asking him why?

Note: Post updated to make clear that Galloway is personally named in the contracts presented by this report.

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