The Non-Governmental Organisations Coordination Board has raised a red flag over an organisation soliciting for money from members of the public while promising them various benefits.
In a statement, the board’s CEO Mutuma Nkanata said the community based-organisation identified as ‘Foundation Missionaire Kenya’ (Missionary Kenya), ‘Union of World Theocratic Missions’ (UMTM), ‘FMI Africa Zone 1’ and ‘Missionary Foundation Kenya’ has requested for registration as an NGO but was yet to be approved.
But speaking to the Nation on phone, the organisation’s official, who did not give her name maintained that they were first registered as a community-based organisation (CBO) before being registered as an NGO.
She laughed off the NGOs Coordination Board’s statement that they were operating illegally.
The NGOs coordination board CEO said the organisation has been operating in Nandi, Murang’a, Meru and Tharaka-Nithi, where it has been collecting money from unsuspecting members of the public.
The Nation established that those interested in jobs known as ‘missionary reformers’ were required to part with Sh4,050 while Sh200 is needed to register a child for education sponsorship.
Farmers interested in free inputs were also parting with Sh200 as registration fee. The ‘missionary reformers’ were tasked with recruiting the beneficiaries.
“The organisation is currently registered as a CBO authorised to strictly operate within Embakasi South…While processing the application for registration, the NGOs Coordination Board received various inquiries from different police stations including DCIO Tharaka South, DCIO Nandi Central and DCIO Mathioya who are investigating the organization, its officials and agents for obtaining money by false pretence contrary to section 313 of the penal code,” the statement reads.
Mr Nkanata said several suspects have been arrested and are assisting the police with investigations.
“The Board wishes to inform and advise members of the public to be on the lookout and avoid getting ensnared by the individuals even as the police and the NGOs board are working to dismantle this budding criminal enterprise,” he stated.
In Meru, the organisation identified, which is mostly targeting churches, has been operating from a building near the Meru County Police Commander’s offices.
Meru North DCIO James Githinji said the organisation’s officials and beneficiaries had visited his office to announce their presence in the area.
“They showed registration certificates and a letter addressed to the DCI informing us of their activities. They had also been copying letters of invitation to the county commissioner. We have not received any complaints about their activities yet,” Mr Githinji said.
A spot check by Daily Nation last week established that the organisation has since closed shop with the office now being used by Dedan Kimathi Foundation.
An official identified as Isabella Kinanu said the Missionary Foundation concluded the recruitment of beneficiaries at the end of last month.
“We have enough beneficiaries and reformers and are now waiting for the head office to communicate so that people start getting their items,” Ms Kinanu said.
Interviews with various people who said they had registered as beneficiaries with UM said no receipt was being issued.
“Do not expect a receipt when you register your child with Sh200. Once the details are sent to Nairobi, you will be issued with a sponsorship card. You only need to give details of your child’s school and the fees will be paid,” a beneficiary who did not identify herself said.
Sources said more than 200 ‘missionary reformers’ were recruited in Meru County.
A ‘missionary reformer' said they had attended various trainings and were set for an exam on Tuesday last week.
“When we came on Tuesday, the meeting was postponed to Friday. The Friday meeting was also postponed with reasons that the Deputy President William Ruto was in Meru,” she said.
According to their website, Missionary Foundation states that it is ‘legally registered by the NGOs coordination board’ but provides certificate number for a CBO, which was issued in March this year.
Its objectives include construction and renovation of churches, schools and health facilities as well as sponsoring pastors’ children and promoting agricultural activities in member churches.
It claims to get its funding from United Mission, a Swiss interfaith organisation and is headed by a Congolese, Joseph Ciringa who is identified as the head of mission in Congo and Africa.