A CHARITY that supports ethnic minorities in East Lancashire is in turmoil after its chairman resigned.

Ethnic Minorities Development Agency (EMDA) chairman Dr Sohail Bhatti said that he fears the charity may have acted illegally for more than a year after breaching its constitution.

Other trustees have also announced their plans to resign, including treasurer Coun Salim Mulla, who is currently acting chief executive.

Concerns have been raised that the charity has breached regulations by not holding an AGM for more than five years.

The charity’s rules also stipulate that trustees cannot be in place for more than four years, a regulation that almost all trustees have breached.

Last year the charity was also rocked when former chief executive Junaid Quershi resigned after he was charged with sexual assault. Dr Bhatti, who took over as chairman in March 2004, said: “It has been an oversight but we have acted in good faith.

"There is a concern that we have breached our public liability insurance and we have been in contact with solicitors and the Charity Commission to see where we stand.

“I leave the organisation in a healthy financial position with numerous partnerships across Lancashire.”

Information supplied to the Charity Commission shows that in 2007-08 EMDA’s inc-ome was £123,937, but only £70,660 was paid out, mainly on wages.

The group employs two part-time staff as well as a chief executive.

The group, based in Blackburn, supports a series of projects across East Lancashire.