An inquiry has uncovered that Comic Relief lost £356,699 to a group in Africa supposedly working on aid, only for the group’s director to use the donations to pay his mortgage and dine out at expensive restaurants.
An inquiry conducted by the Charity Commission has ruled that the founder of the ‘Kenya Community Support Network’ Samson Ochieng, fraudulently used £356,699 of the almost £800,000 of funds given by Comic Relief to the network.
The London-based charity claims its aims are to relieve poverty, sickness and distress among Kenyans and carry out research into living conditions in the country. However, this new inquiry described the 58-year-old founder, from South Woodford, in east London, as having ‘treated the charity as a private business’. The inquiry also claims that Mr Ochieng made ‘numerous withdrawals from cash machines and had significant expenditure in restaurants’.
In addition to this, it has emerged that Mr Ochieng had made two payments, totalling £8,400, from the charity to him and his wife’s mortgage account. UNN’s Oliver Down understands that the Police were contacted but that he engaged with the police investigation and stated that his ‘lifestyle spending’ was for the sponsorship of athletes competing in London.
However, the inquiry report has stated that neither Ochieng nor the charity’s trustees could provide an explanation for two payments made to Mr Ochieng’s mortgage account. The inquiry has concluded that Mr Ochieng fraudulently used £380,960 of the £798,243 of grants given to it by Comic Relief. In addition to this, at least £570,671 of the charity’s expenditure was ‘inadmissible’.