The board of a non-governmental organisation associated with Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero has been suspended and the NGO’s bank accounts frozen as the regulator investigates it.
The Non-Governmental Organisations Coordination Board also gave The Evans Kidero Foundation two weeks to file audited accounts and annual returns of the past four years, failure to which it will be deregistered.
In a December 13 letter, NGO Coordination Board Executive Director Fazul Mahamed accused the foundation of opening and operating “illegal” bank accounts in contravention of Section 12 (4) of the NGOs Coordination Act and Clause 10 of the terms and conditions.
The foundation also failed to file statutory financial returns annually “on the aggregate of funds (and) donations, nature of the funds, donor identity, sources of fund, assets acquired and general operations of the foundation”, said Mr Mahamed.
News of the probe was exclusively reported by the Nation and the foundation has threatened to sue, saying there were no such investigations.
On Tuesday, the chairman of the foundation, Mr Phillip Kungu Opondo, said they had not received the NGO’s suspension letter and refuted claims that they were running an illegal bank account. He blamed Dr Kidero’s political opponents of spreading propaganda but said they were ready to answer any queries.
“We are not worried at all as we have nothing to hide about the running of the foundation,” said Mr Opondo. “After we receive any queries from the NGOs board, we will answer them; but, as of now, we have not received any.”
Mr Opondo however admitted that the foundation has never filed tax returns and said their accountant was working with the relevant bodies to do so. He nonetheless refuted claims that the foundation was holding huge amounts of money, saying that would have been detected by government agencies by now.
“The government has machinery that would have come in if such an amount is transferred and Central Bank would have come in to investigate,” said Mr Opondo.
DEVIATING FROM OBJECTIVES
Although Mr Kidero had earlier denied that he was a member of the board of The Evans Kidero Foundation, the letter from the NGO Co-ordination Board lists the officials of the foundation as Phillip Kungu Opondo (Chairman), George Wainaina Njogu (Secretary), Ronald Odhiambo Kidero (Treasurer), Evans Kidero (Member) and Rosemary Okello (Member).
Mr Opondo is Nairobi County’s head of Public Service Board while Njogu serves as the Chief of Staff.
Mr Opondo dismissed the NGO Board’s move as “one of the efforts to fight Dr Kidero instigated by his enemies”.
Yesterday, the NGO Board accused the foundation of deviating from the objectives it was initially registered for.
“In view of the foregoing, the Board finds that there is sufficient cause to warrant further investigations into the affairs of The Evans Kidero Foundation to ascertain the level of criminal culpability or otherwise of the directors/members of the organization with respect to their fiduciary responsibility…”, said the letter.
The NGO Board is now demanding certified bank statements of all accounts operated by the foundation from 2013 to 2016 and details of all donors; both local and international.
The letter is copied to Central Bank of Kenya, Family Bank, Directorate of Criminal Investigations and Kenya Bankers Association.