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(1)The Lord Advocate may at any time make inquiries, either generally or for particular purposes, with regard to—
(a)a recognised body;
(b)a registered, or non-registered, charity operating as such in Scotland; or
(c)a non-recognised body which appears to him to represent itself or hold itself out as a charity and—
(i)is established under the law of Scotland;
(ii)is managed or controlled wholly or mainly in or from Scotland; or
(iii)has any moveable or immoveable property situated in Scotland,
or with regard to any class of any such bodies.
(2)Where it appears to the Lord Advocate—
(a)in the case of a body referred to in paragraph (a) or (b) of subsection (1) above—
(i)that there is or has been any misconduct or mismanagement in its administration; or
(ii)that it is necessary or desirable to act for the purpose of protecting its property or securing a proper application of such property for its purposes; or
(b)in any other case, that a body is a non-recognised body which appears to him to represent itself or hold itself out as a charity,
he may, if the body is managed or controlled wholly or mainly in or from Scotland, suspend any person concerned in its management or control from the exercise of his functions (but not for a period longer than 28 days), and may make provision as respects the period of the suspension for matters arising out of it.
(3)The Lord Advocate may from time to time nominate officers for the purpose of making inquiries such as are mentioned in subsection (1) above.
(4)A nominated officer may by notice in writing require any person who he has reason to believe has relevant information to answer questions or otherwise furnish information with respect to any matter relevant to inquiries being made under this section at a specified place and either at a specified time or forthwith.
(5)A nominated officer may, for the purpose of making inquiries under this section—
(a)require any person having in his possession or control any records relating to a body which is the subject of inquiries under this section to furnish him with copies of or extracts from any such records; or
(b)unless it forms part of the records of a court or of a public body or local authority, require such a person to transmit the record itself to him for inspection,
either by a specified time or forthwith.
(6)If any person fails or refuses to comply with a requirement made under subsection (4) or (5) above, the nominated officer may apply by summary application to the sheriff for an order requiring that person to—
(a)attend and to answer such questions or to furnish such information at a time and place specified in the order;
(b)furnish the nominated officer with copies or extracts of such records as are specified in the order and by such time as is specified in the order;
(c)transmit to the nominated officer such records as are specified in the order by such time as is specified in the order,
and the sheriff shall, if he considers it expedient to do so, make such an order.
(7)A person shall not be excused from answering such questions as he may be required to answer by virtue of subsection (6) above on the ground that the answer may incriminate or tend to incriminate him, but a statement made by him in answer to any such question shall not be admissible in evidence in any subsequent criminal proceedings against him, except in a prosecution for an offence under section 2 of the M1False Oaths (Scotland) Act 1933.
(8)A person who fails to comply with an order under subsection (6) above shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.
(9)Any person who wilfully alters, suppresses, conceals or destroys any record which he may be required to furnish or transmit under this section shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.
(10)Subject to subsections (11) and (12) below, there shall be paid to any person who complies with a requirement under subsection (4) or (5) above such expenses as he has reasonably incurred in so complying.
(11)A nominated officer shall, for the purpose of making inquiries under this section, be entitled without payment to inspect and take copies of or extracts from records in respect of which no requirement can be made under paragraph (b) of subsection (5) above.
(12)A nominated officer shall, for the purpose of making inquiries under this section, be entitled without payment to keep any copy or extract furnished to him under this section; and where a record transmitted to him for his inspection relates only to one or more recognised body and is not held by any person entitled as trustee or otherwise of such a body to the custody of it, the nominated officer may keep it or may deliver it to the trustees of such a body or to any other person who may be so entitled.
(13)In this section, “record” means a record held in any medium and includes books, documents, deeds or papers; and, in this Part of this Act—
“registered charity” means a body which is registered as a charity in England and Wales under section 4 of the M2Charities Act 1960; and
“non-registered charity” means a charity which, by virtue of sub-section (4) of section 4 of that Act, is not required to register under that section.
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