A UK-based Kenyan man now risks running into trouble with foreign authorities following claims that he was part of an African aid group accused of fraudulently using millions of pounds donated as grants to help eradicate poverty in local Kenyan communities.
Samson Ochieng, a 58-year-old man from South Woodford, East London, and the Director and founder of the Kenya Community Support Network (KCSN) is accused of splashing up to Sh55 million of charity on mortgage payments and restaurant bills.
The London-based organisation known as “Comic Relief” is said to have awarded about 800,000 sterling pounds (Sh115 million) to the community NGO which is headed by Ochieng.
The intended purpose of the money was to alleviate poverty, sickness and distress among Kenyans as well as to carry out research into living conditions in some parts of the country.
According to a report by the UK’s Daily Mail, the commission claimed it had established that Ochieng made countless withdrawals from ATM machines and also spent a significant amount on high-end hotels and restaurants in the famous city of London.
During the probe ordered by the top hierarchy at Comic Relief, it was also revealed that Ochieng had made two payments, totalling to £8,400 (about Sh1.2 million) from the charity to his and wife’s bank mortgage accounts.
The inquiry launched back in 2018 following a complaint to the Charity Commission by Comic Relief ruled that Ochieng treated the foundation as a private business and also fraudulently spent millions of pounds.
In his own defence, Ochieng claimed that he does not have knowledge of such a probe, further stating that his “lifestyle of spending” is only courtesy of sponsorships of the many Kenyan athletes who compete abroad.
Interestingly, part of the money which Ochieng embezzled was to be given to an aid group in Homa Bay county but according to investigations, only about half was remitted.
He however later reportedly dismissed the probe as flawed since the investigators had not travelled to Kenya to examine the funding.
But even before conducting their own probe, Comic Relief chiefs had asked another charity to help investigate its concerns over Ochieng and his charity.
The inquiry found there was evidence to indicate ‘significant concerns’ about the charity’s account.
Comic Relief was founded in 1985 by screenwriter Richard Curtis and comedian Sir Lenny Henry in response to famine in Ethiopia.
In 2015 it was revealed that Comic Relief, together with its associated Red Nose Day and Sport Relief, had raised more than a billion dollars for “good causes”.
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