- Convert Lauren Booth set up Peacetrail in 2013 to advance the Islamic faith
- Body helps house homeless Muslim women and children in the UK
- Charity Commission launched inquiry over alleged financial irregularities
- Peacetrail is also failed to file accounts for last year and 2014's are overdue
After converting in 2010, Lauren Booth set up Peacetrail in 2013 to advance the Islamic faith
A Muslim charity founded by Cherie Blair's half sister is being investigated after it was unable to account for over £70,000.
Convert Lauren Booth set up Peacetrail in 2013 to advance the Islamic faith, help converts and tackle poverty among Muslim women and children in the UK, Palestine, Pakistan and Africa.
It helps house homeless Muslim women and children in the UK and gives financial help to them here and abroad.
But the Charity Commission has launched a Statutory inquiry in the charity's finances and management over alleged financial irregularities.
The investigation by the watchdog was triggered after the charity has failed to file accounts for both 2014.
It made a visit to the charity's HQ in January and found it was unable to provide records on how over £70,000 was spent.
It also identified further concerns about the Peacetrail's use of a bank account of another, non-charitable, company and how these funds had been used and accounted for.
This account allegedly relates to a company controlled by Ms Booth's husband Sohale Ahmed.
The charity's accounts for 2014 are now overdue by 428 days and last year's paperwork is late by 62 days.
Ms Booth, who converted to Islam in 2010, has worked for Al Jazeera, British Muslim TV, Iranian owned Press TV and the UK Islam Channel.
She is also a Patron of Cage who described Jidahi John as a 'beautiful' person.
Yet so serious were the failing by Peacetrail that the Commission opened the statutory inquiry on March 31 and ordered trustees to explain its activities, financial controls and why it has repeatedly failed to file accounts.
It said: 'The charity's objects include the advancement of the Islamic faith and the relief of poverty.
'The charity's stated activities include supporting women and children who face financial hardship in the UK and abroad.
The charity run by Ms Booth, pictured on anti-war protest in Manchester prior to her conversion, is under investigation by the Charity Commission
'The charity was pro-actively identified for a monitoring visit by the commission due to its failure to file its statutory annual returns.
'The visit which was carried out in January 2016 identified serious regulatory concerns regarding how the charity is being managed including; poor governance, risks to the charity's property due to poor financial management and failures by the trustees to conduct proper due diligence and monitoring of its partners.
'The visit also identified that the charity was unable to provide records to evidence expenditure of over £70,000.
'As part of the commission's continuing regulatory engagement it identified further concerns about the charity's use of a bank account of another, non-charitable, company and how these funds had been used and accounted for.
'The commission considers the concerns it has identified to be so serious that it opened a statutory inquiry and directed the trustees to provide information including the charity's activities, financial controls and an explanation as to the trustees continued failure to file the charity's statutory annual returns.
'The commission has also made an order to restrict transactions or payments that the charity may enter into without the commission's prior written approval.'
Charity founder Lauren Booth with her husband Sohale Ahmed, who works as an activist for Muslim charities (Picture by Noble Draper)
The inquiry will look into the charity's management and 'whether its funds have been properly expended and can be accounted for.'
It will also investigate the conduct of the trustees and whether they 'complied with and fulfilled their duties and responsibilities as trustees under charity law.'
It added: 'The inquiry will also take steps as appropriate to safeguard and retrieve any funds which cannot be accounted for as applied for exclusively charitable purposes.'
Ms Booth has refused to comment about the ongoing investigation.
Instead she directed all inquiries to her second husband, who she married in 2013 and lives in Stockport.
She said: 'All enquiries regarding Peacetrail are dealt with solely by Mr Sohale Ahmed.'