George Galloway

Michael Keaney michael.keaney at
Tue Jul 1 02:27:55 MDT 2003

Charity Commission investigates appeal founded by Galloway
The Herald, 1 July 2003

THE Charity Commission is to investigate the appeal founded by George
Galloway, the suspended Labour MP, to pay for the treatment of an Iraqi girl
suffering from leukaemia.

The commission said yesterday it was launching an inquiry under section 8 of
the Charities Act 1993 into funds raised by The Mariam Appeal between March
1998 and April 1999. The aim is to establish whether charitable funds were
correctly used for charitable purposes.

Mr Galloway, the Glasgow Kelvin MP, immediately condemned the move as "a
politically motivated stunt".

The commission announced its decision after a three-month evaluation into
the workings of the appeal. The commission launched a preliminary
investigation into the appeal in April even though it was not registered as
a charity.

Mr Galloway said: "My answer is two-fold. Why and why now. Why is the
charity commission (for England and Wales) getting involved in an
organisation which was neither English or Welsh nor a charity and no longer
exists. Why now? Because Lord Goldsmith, a member of Mr Blair's cabinet
asked them to. This a politically motivated stunt."

In a statement, the commission said: "The (Mariam) Appeal carried out a
range of fundraising and other activities during its lifespan, and initial
findings indicate that the funds raised under the terms of the original
appeal were charitable.

"The commission needs to find out whether these funds were applied for
charitable purposes, as required by the terms of the original appeal. Our
fact-finding evaluation into the subsequent fundraising and application of
money collected by a various people in the name of The Mariam Appeal

In April, a member of the public complained to Lord Goldsmith, attorney
general, that money donated to the appeal was used to pay for Mr Galloway's
travel expenses.

The MP believes the commission investigation is part of "an assault" to
discredit him. He insists the appeal was not a charity but a political
campaign against sanctions on Iraq.

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