Commission finds trustees failed to protect charity from founder who misused funds
The Charity Commission has disqualified the founder of Kenya Community Support Network (KCSN) after finding he used the charity to provide significant financial benefits to him and his family.
The charity has been dissolved and all trustees found responsible for misconduct and mismanagement for their part in allowing Mr Samson Ochieng, the charity’s founder, to misuse the charity.
KCSN had charitable objects that included relieving poverty among Kenyans in the UK and in Kenya.
The Commission became involved with the charity in 2016 after Comic Relief suspended its grants to KCSN following concerns the charity was being used for personal financial gain.
The Commission opened a statutory inquiry in 2018, finding that Mr Ochieng had been in effective control of the charity since he founded it and that the trustees had not properly exercised their legal duties and responsibilities under charity law. This had resulted in:
- £39,500 paid direct to the founder and his family without adequate record-keeping to justify the payments
- a family member of the founder being appointed without an open recruitment process as a paid consultant to the charity
- the charity carrying out marketing activities on behalf of Kenyan commercial companies in the UK, an activity which was outside of the charity’s objects.
Tim Hopkins, Assistant Director of Investigations and Inquiries at the Charity Commission, yesterday said:
Good governance is not a bureaucratic detail, it’s essential in ensuring a charity delivers on its charitable purpose and isn’t exposed to unnecessary risk.
The trustees of Kenya Community Support Network failed to provide this and instead, through their lack of oversight, enabled serious misconduct and mismanagement to take place. Our inquiry has rightly exposed the failures of this charity’s trustees and Mr Ochieng for his misuse of the charity and he has now been disqualified from serving as a trustee for his conduct.
The Commission’s statutory inquiry opened on 22 January 2018 and concluded with the publication of the report.
Notes to Editors:
- The charity was removed from the charity register on 2 November 2020.
- Mr Ochieng was disqualified for 8 years from acting as a trustee or holding a senior position at a charity on 20 March 2020.
- The Charity Commission is the independent, non-ministerial government department that registers and regulates charities in England and Wales. Its purpose is to ensure charity can thrive and inspire trust so that people can improve lives and strengthen society.
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