A CONTROVERSIAL charity launched by senior SNP activist Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh with £16,000 worth of taxpayer support is being wound up amid a misconduct probe.

The Scottish Asian Women’s Association (SAWA) was this week classed as “defaulting” on its legal requirements after failing to file financial statements on time.

SAWA has now told the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (Oscr) it is dissolving its affairs, and will give away around £11,000 of reserves.

“The trustees have decided to wind up the charity and will disburse its remaining assets after any administration costs to the charity,” it said in its latest accounts.

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Ms Ahmed-Sheikh launched SAWA in 2012 with the personal support of then First Minister Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon.

She went on to become the SNP MP for Ochil & South Perthshire in 2015, and resigned as SAWA chair after her election.

She lost her seat last year, but remains on the SNP’s ruling national executive committee.

She is currently Mr Salmond’s business partner and co-presenter on his Kremlin TV show.

SAWA’s stated aim was to “promote religious and racial harmony” by raising the profile of Scottish Asian women and advancing their education, health, equality and employment.

However critics saw it as more of a vehicle for Ms Ahmed-Sheikh’s political ambitions.

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Its constitution stipulated that she be named as the founder for “all time coming in all literature, letterheads and promotional/publicity material”.

The SNP government helped launch SAWA by laying on Stirling Castle’s Great Hall, which was worth £7000, and entertaining 160 guests at a cost of around £9000, with £4500 going on canapes.

SAWA had applied to be a charity just 48 hours earlier, and was not officially recognised by Oscr for another 14 weeks.

Ms Ahmed-Sheikh was awarded an OBE in the 2014 New Year’s honours for “services to Business and to the Asian community in Scotland”.

The charity initially organised £100-a-plate award ceremonies, sponsored by RBS, at which prizes were awarded to Asian women in business, the arts, sport and public life.

However after ceremonies in 2013 and 2014 attended by Mr Salmond, Ms Sturgeon and senior Labour and LibDem MSPs, SAWA failed to stage the “annual event” in 2015.

After Ms Ahmed-Sheikh disengaged, its activities dwindled to a virtual standstill as its income dried up and its website, Facebook and Twitter accounts fell into disuse.

In December 2015, under new trustees, SAWA made its first major donations, giving £9000 to three good causes a fortnight before it had to file accounts with Oscr. It has done little since.

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie said: “It is sadly no surprise to see this charity fold.

“While it had worthwhile aims, it is concerning that so much taxpayers’ money has seemingly been spent on a charity that has achieved little.

“The SNP government must explain what due diligence it conducted before supporting a charity that only served as a publicity vehicle for Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh.”

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Ms Ahmed-Sheikh said SAWA had been launched six years ago “with cross party support” and been a “very positive cause” .

She said: “I stood down from SAWA because of my election to Parliament in May 2015 and since then have had no part in its organisation.”

Oscr said: “We can confirm this charity is currently classed as ‘defaulting’.

“If a charity’s information is not sent to us within 10 weeks of the deadline date the charity will be shown as ‘defaulting’ on the Scottish Charity Register. This means the charity has defaulted on the legal requirement to provide Oscr with annual reports and accounts, which is a breach of the charity trustees’ duties. This is misconduct and we have powers take action against charity trustees where appropriate and proportionate.

“Without this information we may conclude that a charity is not carrying out activities to advance its charitable purposes, is not providing public benefit and therefore does not meet the charity test. However, when a charity is late we communicate with them directly and offer support where we can. This provides an additional opportunity for the charity to supply the information. Ultimately though, charitable status can be removed.”