LONDON: October 21, 2019. (By Correspondent) A charity supported by A-list actress Mehwish Hayyat is mired in mega controversy after nearly half a dozen staff members raised complaints about Penny Appeal’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Aamer Naeem OBE and accused him of running a campaign of harassment and fear inside the charity – following the suspension of charity’s founder Adeem Younis.
Sources inside the Penny Appeal have told this publication confidentially that Aamer Naeem faces complaints of serious nature from his junior staff over his style of running the charity. It has been accused in internal emails that Aamer Naeem has been targeting the staff members for being loyal to Adeem Younis and told staff members that they could leave the charity in the wake of suspension of Adeem Younis, involvement of Charity Commission and the storm that has blown up at the leading British Muslim charity.
People close to Aamer Naeem have denied all allegations but confirmed that senior staff members and executive have raised grievances within.
“These are only allegations and are being looked into. We have an independent system in place to address complaints. The CEO remains committed to taking the vision of the charity forward through all means.”
Penny Appeal is running several projects in Pakistan and fight for control of the charity threatens to derail the projects of the charity globally. The charity raises over £30 million every year and employs hundreds of people in global officers including nearly 100 staff in the Pakistan office. Some insiders have taken to social media site Twitter to make allegations of sexual bullying and harassment against a senior executive. One expose Twitter account revealed the inside working of the charity before the twitter went on silent mode. A new account has come up revealing equally lethal details about the toxic situation inside the charity.
A source in the charity has described as “extraordinary” the gambits that were put in place ahead of the removal of Adeem Younis, the founder of the charity and the founder of hit success SingleMuslims.com website.
In a military style coup, trustees of the charity Mr .. and Mr…. approved suspension of Adeem Younis while he was in Pakistan carrying out work for the charity accompanied by TV star James Caan and celebrity Mehwish Hayyat.
A source said: “Adeem Younis was shocked when he was met at the airport by his own chairty’s executives and told that he stood suspended and that he cannot seek entry into the offices of the charity unless the investigation is completed. He looked shaken when the two enforces read out message from the CEO to him. It came as a thunderbolt to him.”
Sources in Penny Appeal have said that Aamer Naeem led the campaign against Adeem Younis and convinced the trustees and senior staff before making the final move.
Staff members have said that Aamer Naeem held several meetings with Adeem Younis and made his intentions clear. He asked the founder that he should become only a figurehead of the charity.
According to several accounts, Aamer Naeem allegedly harassed staff members and asked one staff member to leave the organization in an attempt to cover his own failings. According to eye witnesses one female senior staffer wept in front of witnesses at the Wakefield based charity’s office after she was humiliated by another staff member and denied access to passwords and entry to the office.
After Adeem Younis was suspended, locks of the charity’s headquarters were changed, IT servers were removed in the dead of night which brought functioning of the charity to a standstill for a number of weeks. “All communication system of the charity was badly affected as a result of the midnight operation which was conducted in a classical military style, led by Aamer Naeem and four other officials of the charity. They took no chance and made sure that the takeover went smooth,” said the source. Since then the charity’s office is manned by a team of full time security guards who don’t allow anyone inside the premises unless approved and with proper authorization.
Staff at the charity have been told not to speak to Adeem Younis or risk losing jobs. “You cannot speak to Adeem Younis unless investigation by the Charity Commission is complete,” a senior officer of the charity told a staff meeting, issuing warning.
The Charity Commission has said that its investigating “potential financial concerns” related to Penny Appeal after an “incident” was reported by the charity itself.
A Charity Commission spokesman told this publication that the investigation is likely to be completed in next “few weeks”.
It’s understood that Adeem Younis was suspended after the power struggle between him and Aamer Naeem OBE touched climax in the last few months. Both argued with each other over the affairs of the charity and disagreements were aired in open. They clashed but none anticipated that the difference of opinion will lead towards an outright coup, bringing the whole charity into disrepute.