Third Time Unlucky For George?

By Rob Last edited 222 months ago

Last Updated 22 December 2005

Third Time Unlucky For George?

The Charity Commission has announced that it's to launch its third investigation into George Galloway's now infamous Mariam Appeal.

The Mariam campaign was founded by Galloway back in 1998 in order to "to campaign against sanctions on Iraq which are having disastrous effects on the ordinary people of Iraq," but the fund became the centre of controversy in 2003 when Galloway's somewhat extravagent travel arrangements (luxury hotels, champagne, caviar... those massive cigars he likes so much) came under scrutiny.

Although the Mariam Appeal was never actually an official charity the Charity Commission launched a year long investigation but only wound up concluding that it was a charity and should have been registered with them. What they failed to do was come up with any evidence that funds had been misused.

However there was one interesting note in the eventual report:

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.

Now, according to today's Telegraph, the Charity Commision has launched a 'fresh probe' "hard on the heels of inquiries by the US Senate which concluded that Fawaz Zureikat, Mr Galloway's friend and long-time associate, had channelled money from the oil-for-food programme into the Mariam Appeal."

An offical George spokesperson has said the inquiry is a "complete waste of time" and has claimed it's only been launched "at the behest" of the US.