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Citizen Weekly

Sunday 22 February 2015

Future of Kakamega children’s home sealed as accounts fleeced

The fate of 53 children at the Mission to the Fatherless home in Kakamega appear sealed by a decision by some trustees to starve the home of funds by diverting donor support for secondary and tertiary education to private accounts.
Documents in our passion reveal that the board cut education support for 11 children in secondary schools and six others pursuing university and college education last year, after rift over a proposal to secretly sell the home to a private developer.
MTTF manager Brian Mung’asia says education support for secondary and college students had dried up because two directors allegedly working in cahoots with a US-based MTTF trustee Everett Jones had committed the MTTF resources to secret organisation and personal bank accounts. “The centre was going through turmoil because some trustees have diverted donor support to personal accounts,” Mung’asia sai.
 The claims have vehemently been denied by the local MTTF board chairman pastor Kennedy Makanji and fellow trustee  Kennedy Bomji who are named to the secret accounts.
In May last year donors sent Sh283,200 as miscellaneous support to the MTTF board for the month of May of which Sh120,000 was placed under Bomji’s discretionary use, Sh135,200 as support for ECGem ministry in Bungoma according to email correspondence between the home and donors.
Mung’asia claims the Pastor Benedict School and ECGem ministry are conduits created under the guise of miscellaneous support to siphon the MTTF children support. The Kakamega MTTF centre has a monthly operation budget of upto Sh359,040 catering for staff salaries, operation expenses, catering, sanitation and administrative. He said it was unfair to implicate him with fraud arguing donor funds are wired with a purpose.
Wrangles within the MTTF board have persisted over the past one year fuelled by the demise of the MTTF founder – a US philanthropist Herb Veith mid last year and appointment of Everett Jones as executive director.
Correspondence between Jones and local directors Bomji and Makanji speak of an elaborate plot to fraudulently dispose off the centre’s multi-million property located in Kakamega town.
In one of the emails dated April 24  2014, Jones writes of the MTTF USA board decision to place Kakamega home including land and buildings up for sale and directs Bomji to relocate the MTTF children to the MTTF satellite centre in Oyugis, Homa Bay county.
The mail goes on to instruct Bomji to carry out a cautious discreet valuation of the property. On July 26 2014, Jones wrote again directing the removal of Mung’asia and his co-worker Consolata Wajia. The mail directed Bomji to transfer of children to Oyugis MTTF centre for the August holidays in order to give room for the discreet valuation exercise.
In September last year, Mung’asia moved to court to invalidate the transfer of the orphans from Kakamega MTTF centre to Oyugis and to challenge his suspension and that of Wajia arguing the move was oppressive.
Earlier on in July, the widow of MTTF founder Herb Veith, Virginia Veith through the family attorney Dorothea Kingsbury in a letter to the MTTF board advised caution noting that though they lost confidence in the Kenyan board of trustees this should be limited to Wajia and Mung’asia.
The letter urged the suspension slapped on Wajia and Mung’asia to be revoked to allow for an impartial investigation. “In addition, there is to be no commitment of MTTF resources and properties to any other organisation or person without disclosure and discussion with the full US board at a formally convened meeting of all members,” Kingsbury’s letter concluded alluding to the planned sale.

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