The Charity Commission has frozen the bank accounts of George Galloway’s charity Viva Palestina, and has replaced trustees with an interim manager, the regulator announced today.
Viva Palestina, also known as Lifeline for Gaza, was set up in January 2009 to run aid convoys to Gaza, and claimed to have raised well over £1m. It has since run several aid convoys, one of which, in 2010, resulted in Galloway being deported from Egypt.
The Commission opened an inquiry into the charity in June 2013. The inquiry, which is still ongoing, is looking into “serious concerns relating to financial management, including a failure by the current and/or former trustees to account for charity funds since the inception of the charity”.
Helen Blundell of MHA Bloomer Heaven has been appointed as interim manager of the charity “to the exclusion of the Charity’s trustees as a temporary and protective measure”, the Commission said. She took over management of the charity on Monday 15 September.