The Commissioner of Charities will be able to suspend illegitimate fund-raising appeals in which fund-raisers lie about beneficiaries’ circumstances or about how donations will be used.
Such appeals to raise funds can be stopped even before investigations are complete, for up to two years, as long as there are grounds to suggest foul play.
These enhanced powers come as Parliament agreed to amend the laws and regulations governing charities, to keep up with an evolving charity landscape that has seen more fund-raising appeals done online.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu cited the large amount of donations happening over the online sphere, underscoring the need for a regulatory regime to promote greater transparency and accountability. She added that it is necessary to maintain a high level of public trust and integrity in the sector.
Changes to the Charities Act will require charities – online or offline, and regardless of scale—to comply with more stringent requirements, such as filing annual reports online and keeping documents like accounting records for at least five years.
Source: "Stricter regulation of charities, online fund-raisers" (The Straits Times, 10 Jan 2018)