Thursday, February 29, 2024

Senior Project officer accused of embezzling charity funds

The former Project Manager of the Environmental Heritage Foundation (EHF), a non-governmental organization, James Ewane, is currently being investigated after allegations that he swindled Ipopeng Project, a charity organization in Francistown of undisclosed huge sums of money.

The charity organization, which aims to enhance the lifestyles of the underprivileged people of Ipopeng Ward in Francistown, has been languid since its inception in September 2010 owing to lack of funding.

It is alleged that Ewane helped the organization source a P500 000 donation from the European Union (EU), which was never utilized to mobilize the project.

Sunday Standard is informed that Ewane, who is a Cameroon national, has since skipped the country.
An inside source, who is also a committee member of the Ipopeng Project, told the Sunday Standard that the project has been stagnant and efforts to get feedback on the funds from the coordinator have been fruitless.

She mentioned that ever since the project begun, they were only availed an amount of P12 000 and they never heard from him again.

However, a board member of trustees at EHF, Kitsiso  Morei,  confirmed to the Sunday Standard that Ewane left the country unceremoniously this year and added that at this time, they cannot point a finger at him as there has to be proper investigations and an audit to see how he administered the funds.

He said that a former University of Botswana lecturer, Dr Robert Nfila, has been roped into the investigations to try and reconcile the invoices and see if there is an improper usage of the charity funds.

He further revealed that what he is aware of is that although the EU offered the P500 000 donation, the money was issued in three disbursements and added that, for now, the EU has only issued the first disbursement of about P200 000 and maintained that  most of it was used on the charity project.

“To say that Ewane swindled the funds will not be fair at this time because investigations have to be done to put up the puzzle together and see how he administered the funds,” he maintained.
Efforts to reach the European Union Office in Botswana were futile as its Communications Manager, Bester Gabotlale, was not in the office and his phone went unanswered.


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