Charities regulator calls halt to controversial trust meeting on windfarm cash
There will be no decision on extra funding from Shetland Charitable Trust for the Viking Energy windfarm until at least after next Thursday’s council elections.
It follows an intervention from the charities regulator OSCR which directed that the existing trustees could not bind their successors by resolving either to invest a further £6.3 million or choosing effectively to end the trust’s involvement.
In a statement today trust chief executive Ann Black said: “The meeting scheduled to take place on Monday has been cancelled.”
She said she had informed the seven trustees who had requisitioned the meeting – Betty Fullerton, Jim Budge, Andrew Hughson, Robert Henderson, Josie Simpson, Gussie Angus and Addie Doull – of OSCR’s intervention. They had agreed to withdraw their demand for the meeting.
“In light of a direction received from OSCR late Friday afternoon, which stated that the trust must not make a binding decision in relation to any investment in the Viking Energy project, beyond the £3.42 million previously invested, before 5th May 2012, and subsequent legal advice, they have decided to withdraw this request.
“I appreciate trustees’ frustration at not being able to debate or discuss this matter. I have therefore given them the opportunity to make their views known to me, and I will ensure that these views are shared with the incoming new board of trustees.”
Anti-Viking group Sustainable Shetland called on trust chairman Bill Manson, Dr Black and financial controller Jeff Goddard to consider their positions.
In a statement it said it was “appalled” at the decision to call yet another meeting to attempt to draw down further trust funds for Viking Energy.
“Had it not been for the timely intervention by OSCR, Monday’s charitable trust meeting would have gone ahead and been in breach of OSCR regulations – an extremely serious matter.
“The decision to go ahead with this meeting was taken by SCT chair Bill Manson and supported by trust officials Jeff Goddard and Ann Black. We believe it is their duty to ascertain that meetings fall within the legal framework for charitable organisations. They have failed the Shetland public in this respect and were prepared to put SCT funds at risk.”