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Kids Company founder questioned by MPs over how it was run

FACING TOUGH QUESTIONING: Kids Company founder Camila Batmanghelidjh

THE FOUNDER of the now defunct Kids Company today (Oct 15) faced questions from MPs about how the charity was run.

Camila Batmanghelidjh and chairman of trustees Alan Yentob were asked about how taxpayers' money was used following claims of financial mismanagement.

Their appearance before MPs comes a day after documents emerged showing concerns about the charity's management were raised as long ago as 2002 - a claim disputed by Kids Company at the time.

Batmanghelidjh founded the company 19 years ago to provide support to vulnerable young people, but it collapsed in August just days after receiving a £3m grant from the Cabinet Office and in the midst of a police investigation.

The closure came after ministers said they wanted to recover the £3m grant - with officials saying they believed conditions attached to the use of the money had not been met.

Batmanghelidjh also claimed an investor withdrew the funds after learning that police were investigating the children's charity over allegations of sexual abuse.

She told the BBC that within 20 minutes of a Cabinet office grant, also of £3 million, being handed to the charity last week, "the police call out of the blue to say that there's been allegations of sexual abuse related to Kids Company".

However, documents seen by BBC Newsnight and BuzzFeed News show the Pilgrim Trust, a charity which disburses about £2m a year, wrote to the Charity Commission in 2002 to raise concerns about Kids Company.

In the letter, Pilgrim Trust director Georgina Naylor noted an "absence of financial acumen from the director of Kids Company", reports The BBC.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4 Today programme in August she described the organisation as becoming a "football for the media and the civil servants over the summer."

Claims of financial mismanagement were unfounded, she said, asking, "If we were so dysfunctional, why did the Government hand over £7 million worth of taxpayers' money?"

"I failed because I didn't raise enough money," she told Victoria Derbyshire on the BBC. "This Government is being disingenuous. What are these cases doing at our door when they should be at their door?"

The charity's demise will leave 6,000 vulnerable children at risk, The Guardian reported.

The Government said it was working with local authorities to ensure the young people affected are looked after.

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