17th August 2020   •   article
UK charity Penny Appeal launches investigation after allegations emerge of child abuse in Gambia

by Barfi Culture Team | @barfi_culture.
Image: Penny Appeal
A UK charity has started an investigation after the Gambian government shut down its operations in the country over allegations of child abuse.

A statement by Gambian government officials said Penny Appeal-Gambia had been operating illegally in the country and "managing its orphanages in The Gambia without following the due process of registration," according to The Voice.

"It is against this background that the general public is informed that Penny Appeal -The Gambia is hereby temporarily closed with immediate effect pending the outcome of the full investigation relating to exploitation of children, sexual abuse and other child protection matters," the statement added.

On Saturday, boxer Amir Khan also released a statement saying he was "horrified" to hear about the recent allegations and had severed his ties with the charity in 2018.

In a statement posted on Friday 14th, Penny Appeal said it was aware of "an alleged safeguarding issue in Gambia at a local community-based organisation supported by our partner organisation, Penny Appeal Gambia".

"As an organisation, we are truly horrified at the allegations. Protecting children and young people from harm is of the highest possible level of importance to us. We recognise and accept our responsibility to ensure our partners provide an environment which promotes the safety of our beneficiaries, especially young people, at all times," its statement added.

The charity says it has started commissioning an independent investigation "into all related matters" and informed the Charity Commission.

On Twitter, more than one person asked Penny Appeal for more transparency over their internal processes.

This isn't the first time controversy has surrounded the charity.

Last year Aamer Naeem OBE resigned from the charity as its CEO after complaints of harassment and bullying. He denied the complaints.

The resignation took place just months after its founder Adeem Younis claimed he had been abruptly ousted from the charity.
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