Money donated to "Tare" goes missing, British police called in

This also follows confirmation by the co-Director and Founder of Girl Child Network Trust Fund (UK), Priscilla Nyathi that Tare’s second operation had been delayed as a result of failure to pay-up outstanding hospital fees.

Tare is an 18-year-old Zimbabwean girl, recently brought into the UK for an operation on a life-threatening tumour, in a campaign led by Girl Child Network (GCN).

It has also been revealed that case Number 1003/29-12/09 have been opened by Essex Police who immediately transfered the case to Southend-on-Sea Fraud Squad for full investigations.

At the time of going on Press, the complainant and the accused have not yet been publicly identified although there has been an on-line petition regarding the same matter attracting 150 signatures. The petition has also been passed to Britain’s premier investigators, the Scotland Yard.

Asked where the money came from Nyathi said: "I cannot discuss this in detail because the case is now in the hands of authorities. What I can tell you is that I now have the money to pay up the outstanding bills for Tare to enable her undergo a second operation soon".

The ZimDiaspora says they have not blamed anyone in the UK for the Tare saga, and have not insinuated, not even suspected anyone for wrong doing, but we are calling for common sense to prevail because we spoke to Tare.

However, we recently gathered, from both independent sources and Tare herself that the girl is now struggling to make ends meet outside London where she is now being looked after by a struggling single monther Memory Phiri. Link

Zimdiaspora also published a response from Betty Makoni, who led the campaign to bring Tare to the UK for the operation, regarding our story. Link

We have, since then, received two statements, one from GCN founder  Betty Makoni and another one from Priscilla Nyathi, the co-Director and Founder of Girl Child Network Trust Fund (UK), but both explaining the issue regarding the money that has caused such a storm.

This also follows reports that a substantive amount raised under Tare’s name has been channeled into a private account belonging to a distant relative, who only met her in Britain recently, while an unaccounted amount was also channeled to Tare’s brother, Talent Mapungwana in Zimbabwe.

According to Nyathi, GCNW has appointed an independent accounting firm with more than 35 years experience to audit all of the organisation’s books.

“The name of the Accounting firm is Colin Gardner and Co Accounting Firm. I will be taking all the GCNW books to them tomorrow,” said Nyathi.

“…… The UK appeal raised  a total of  £15 971.43 of which £13243.43 came from the GCNW and PAYPAL A/C, £1080 given directly to Mai Tare by well wishers in hospital, £440 deposited directly to Vio A/C and another £1008 also given directly to mai Tare by Paul Simple and Lady Gee fundraising Gig for DJs in the UK.

“Christ Ministries (Pastor Forbes) also raised a total of £200 cash and pledged £300.00 for later treatment.”

Nyathi then gives a breakdown of the hospital bill and how money was channeled into it.

“The total for the hospital bill was £21000.00,” she says.

“A bill of £10 000 was paid directly by GCNW Director (Priscilla Nyathi) to the NHS_on 14/12/09_ and £8000 was paid directly to the NHS by Tare’s brother in Zimbabwe, leaving a balance of £3862.01.

“Following the meeting I had today with Founder of GCN Betty Makoni and VioMak, we will be paying a total of £-£3862.01– to the NHS tomorrow so that Tare can finish her treatment and go back to school.

“Vio confirmed that Taremedzwa’s Mother withdrew the amount of_£440.00 in a bank account which was deposited by well wishers.”

Nyathi also says that following a petition circulated by concerned people on the funds meant for Tare, police in the UK have launched an investigation into the matter.

“I understand that following your petition, Essex Police have recorded Case Number 1003/29-12/09; and that a full investigation has been initiated by the Southend-on-Sea Fraud Squad. GCNW will fully cooperate with their investigation.

“I shall be passing a copy of the petition to our Solicitors on Monday next week so that they are aware of the investigations.”

Makoni’s statement, although reaching the same total with that of Nyathi, but makes no mention of the money deposited into VioMak’s account. Instead, Mak is mentioned as an “independent verifier” by Makoni.

“Following some recent news, an independent verifier(VioMak) on phone 075 380 45 981 called for a meeting where Priscillah Nyathi and myself made presentations on donations received on behalf of Tare,” said Makoni.

“The last report and excel sheet was up to 7 October 2009. Analysis of donations made through pay pal and the bank was done. Below is Tare financial statement up to 29 December 2009. As you can see the hospital bill is in fact 21 000 pounds and previously we had hoped for 10 000 pounds.”

Makoni implores those with comments and questions to “contact me or any of our trustees and all our bank statements have all been forwarded to external verifier”.

On why VioMak is entered in her record as an independent verifier, yet she received money from well wishers into her personal account, Makoni said to our editor, “VioMak is the one who asked for a meeting between me and Priscillah because like you, she was very concerned with what was being posted on internet and in this case she verified GCNW bank statements and pay pal, meaning we gave her our bank statements to check what was on them against what we sent our as total donations.”

“In fact anyone who wants to call us is allowed to do and what we do is we set up a meeting and present the documents and so this is what we did .Tare’s mum and VioMak are related and so what they discussed I am not privy to but what I know is that there are some friends of Tare who did not want to give through GCNW and so they gave a total of 2078 pounds to Mai Tare, and they must have made a family arrangement on those who wanted to give through a bank account . Like what you are doing you are independently verifying and so its best to contact VioMak”.

She continues in her statement; “As shown below please note that no funds were paid to any private account but all funds were paid direct to hospital by GCNW.

“Also we have given some members of the public our bank statements and Tare mum has pay pal bank account up to 30 September 2009.

“Please note that all our books are done by a qualified accountant and then our trustees appoint auditors each year. All our financial statements are posted on our website when audit is done.”

She also challenges all those who want to send over auditors to feel free to do so anytime.

“We appreciate their help on Tare funds and just to make the general public aware how funds were used.”

The statement;
Funds in Lloyds bank are until 7 October 2009
Date                 Amount            Funder
14-Sep             30                    Fresh
14-Sep             40                    Ref Tare
14-Sep             30                    Victoria
15-Sep             50                    Bianca Mathe
15-Sep             50                    Charring Cross
16-Sep             10                    N/A
16-Sep             20                    Kamhuka
16-Sep             20                    N/A
16-Sep             10                    N/A
16-Sep             20                    N/A
16-Sep             10                    N/A
16-Sep             6000                Nicole
17-Sep             100                  Makwasha
17-Sep             2                      Code Ref
18-Sep             80                    500011
18-Sep             810 P               Gardener
18-Sep             15                    Queen SQ
18-Sep             10                    Chibvongodze
21-Sep             30                    Folkestone
21-Sep             5                      Milton ketnes
21-Sep             101                  Nomatter
22-Sep             65                    Chester Road
22-Sep             20                    TG
23-Sep             300                  GB Company Andrew White
23-Sep             10                    TriSolutions
24-Sep             10                    Hatfield
24-Sep             2105                Westcliffe
25-Sep             5                      Bornmouth University
28-Sep             64                    Datford
30-Sep             5                      Veremu
30-Sep             3096.43           Pay Pal transfer
05-Oct             10                    Musindo SJ
05-Oct             10                    Mrs Chiwawa
06-Oct             10                    Dhlakama
07-Oct             90 500012
Total                13243.43

Makoni says that GCN presented this statement to the public on 13 October.

“After 7 -20 October 2009-GCNW finalised on the following and on 29 December we all verified and agreed that the following are donations from 7 October 2009,” she adds, and her statement continues below;
07-Oct 1280 Pay Pal
07-Oct 849 Cheques -bank with Llyods bank
Not cleared 80 Cheques-Lloyds bank
Total 2209
Total donations up to 30 December 2009

7 Oct balance forward 13 243.43
7-20 Oct pay pal etc -2209
Total donations – 15 452.43

Expenses
Hospital bill etc 11878.51
Carers expenses 968.00
Total Expenses 12 846.51

Balance brought forward – 2605.92

Total bill outstanding -3862.01
Balance available -2605.92
Deficit -1257.08-GCNW will pay for this from its Girls Empowerment and Education fund.

Please note that OS pledged 3000 pounds to Tare and they will be contacted to see if they can contribute to second operation.

In an interview with our editor Wednesday, Makoni blamed the latest turn of events on misinformation, which she vowed to “work professionally to correct”.

On reports that Tare is struggling, she said.

“How can a child on facebook with a new laptop and teddy bears round her bed, six suitcases of clothes with 2000 USdollars cash with her mum,with 17 relatives all professionals be pauper?

“I met Tare with professionals on 14 December and she came with her cousin brother and aunt and they live in a 3 bedroomed house .I have worked with children who are poor and I will never demean Tare to a pauper .

“If her mum has 1500 pounds per two weeks and she needs 40 pounds to hospital the funds are there ..this a real game here and I will let it be played and deal with it professioanlly because I have videotaped evidence for Tare until yesterday and in any case her documentary has a lot of footage …if she was a pauper where are the pictures to show her on the street ….or in big trouble?”

“Our bank statements do not have anything like money being transferred to private accounts. Its a very new account where the bank is about to help us with internet banking and also I know to have signed cheques and Priscillah is the one who withdraws them and its there for anyone to see and so since I know there is no bank transfer again I would not want to spend my energy arguing at all.

“Can someone bring the printed copy of this pvt account transfer and give it to you .I checked everything yesterday and all we have are cheque withdrawals .I only saw 9000 pounds tranfered to Barts hospital but this is not a private account at all. Do you have any bank transactions to show the transfer because here I have none .So take this to be misinformation that will be corrected one day .GCNW will never transfer funds into private accounts.”

She said that all funds that were needed as cash by Tare mum were withdrawn from GCNW account and all cheques and paperwork is very clear because they are not many at all.

“GCNW gave cash direct to Mai Tare and we paid all for driving and other accomodation services with cheques. If you read finance statement clearly you will see 10 000 pounds is direct into hospital and 1800 is either direct cash payment or in pocket money for Tare mum .So our way to do it is to get her paid cash and she signed our acknowledgement forms to show she is the one who received the money or we have an invoice to show supplier was paid direct.

“No funds was transfered to VioMak by GCNW and I even gave Vio Mak all our bank statements to check if we ever did this .Priscillah was there at meeting and she concurred no funds were transfered and so from now we want anyone who thinks funds were transfered to Vio Mak from us to make a sworn in statement.Bank statements are not so hard to get and so why cant this be the case ..who transfered to Vio Mak?”

Makoni also professed ignorance about some of the contents of Nyathi’s report.

”It is very hard to stop freedom of speech but I just want to say we have trustees who are women of such repute,” she said.

“With an audit and fraud investigations I should have the papers by now but I do not have any at all.

“When we are working on issues like this a special meeting is called and a resolution is passed by trustees and so our trustees are the ones who did pay because one of them manages and so when they left for holidays we had just finished GCNW business plan from 2010 to 2015, just to see how best we can double efforts to help girls.

“Also we had internal meeting on 8 November where trustees and us discussed Tare case and we had a very good way forward and that’s what I am following,” she explained.

“……..there is no auditor with a contract with GCNW because already we have an accountant appointed to do all our accounts.

“Our pay pal is done by a finance manager in USA on volunteer basis .I just saw letters going rounds on police and fraud section and I know how professional police in UK is, so I am waiting to see.

“I would not want to say much about our lawyers because these are pro bono lawyers I got as a fellow and am due to meet them in January 2010 to help us with incorporation of GCNW. They will never do any matters outside this because I am the one who signed a contract and that is why I advise that as long as such issues are not posted on the website by trustees then it might be worth studying for a while.” (ZimDiaspora)