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January 7, 2020

Aamer Naeem OBE resigns from Penny Appeal amid crisis


Tue, Jan 07, 2020

LONDON: The executive director of the Muslim charity Penny Appeal has stepped down amid storm surrounding the charity over a takeover bid, complaints of harassment and bullying and shutdown of several departments due to lack of leadership.

Aamer Naeem OBE, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Wakefield charity, confirmed that he has resigned from the Penny Appeal charity “amicably” but insiders at the charity have shared that the departure came in the wake of huge controversies, in-fights and accusations of misconduct and wrongdoings.

The charity, supported by actress Mehwish Hayyat and boxer Amir Khan, has been mired in mega controversy after nearly half a dozen staff members raised complaints of bullying after a takeover bid was made a number of key officials when they suspended Adeem Younis, the founder of the charity.

The civil war in the charity started around three months ago when Adeem Younis, chairman and founder of the charity was suspended unceremoniously while he was in Pakistan. Younis was in Pakistan touring the charity sites with actress Mehwish Hayat and Dragons’ Den star James Caan.

Currently, the charity commission is looking n into the functioning of the organization.

Rizwan Khaliq, the Interim Chair of Trustees of the organisation said: "We would like to thank Aamer for his leadership, hard work, and dedication. He has played a vitally important role, alongside notable others, in helping to grow and transform Penny Appeal into a household name. We wish him well for the future. We would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Harris Iqbal, who takes over as interim CEO."

Aamer Naeem said: "Penny Appeal has been my life for the last 7 years and, working with a great team, we have built a confident, contemporary and competent organisation. I’ve learned a lot and given a lot, all of which is invaluable to me."

When asked questions by Geo and The News, Aamer Naeem stressed that the departure was cordial. “I resigned from Penny Appeal very amicably and on very good terms. The organisation and I remain supportive of one another.”

Aamer Naeem previously worked in Nottingham based NGO Muslim Hands from where he had departed in similar situation.

A source within the Penny Appeal told that the recent events and internal fights have cost Penny Appeal millions of Pounds in lost revenue and reputation damages.

The source said: “With nearly 50% of staff leaving Penny Appeal, whole departments are on their knees with some even shutting down due to staff losses. The charity is down in revenue for the first time in its history after becoming the UK’s largest Muslim charity. The clean up is now left to interim CEO Harris Iqbal who is the youngest CEO in a multi-million Pounds Muslim charity sector. Allegations for bullying, theft and blackmail still hang over the departed CEO Aamer Naeem OBE and he will be cooperating with the new management.”

Several senior officials have resigned in recent weeks but deputy CEO Samia Hussain remains at the charity. Several former senior charity officials have told this reporter that they were hounded out from the charity for no reason.

Sources in Penny Appeal had said at the time that Aamer Naeem OBE was behind suspension of Adeem Younis but a spokesman of Mr Aaamer Naeem had dismissed the allegation. However, it was confirmed that Adeem Younis and Aamer Naeem OBE had developed serious differences and the two didn’t look eye-to-eye on several important issues.

Penny Appeal says it provides poverty relief across Asia, the Middle East and Africa, with programmes to help the poor and needy by building wells, caring for orphans, providing nutritious food, delivering emergency aid in response to crisis situations and providing healthcare.

It also works in the UK to help homeless people and women who have experienced domestic abuse. It has partnerships with the Department for Education and the Jo Cox Foundation.