An organisation that was accused of collecting money from Kenyans on the pretence that it would offer them lucrative jobs has resurfaced after going under for six months.
The East Africa Sub-Sahara Safe Promotion Foundation-International (SSASPF) on Thursday held a meeting at Garden Estate plot 58 in Nairobi where more than 5,000 jobseekers attended.
The non-governmental organisation caused a stir in August last year after it promised to provide lucrative jobs to more than 20,000 Kenyans during a meeting at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi.
However, jobseekers were forced to part with between Sh5,000 and Sh20,000 as registration fee.
The government moved in following complaints and arrested some of it officials for questioning, warning Kenyans to be wary of the NGO’s activities.
In Thursday’s meeting, participants were paying Sh100 each as “registration” fee, meaning the organisation collected about Sh500,000.
According to one of the organisers, the amount was meant to cater for tents and chairs “which we have hired for this event”.
The fee would also enable the participants, who had come as far as from Nyanza, Isiolo, Kitui, and Kirinyaga, among other areas, get a 500ml bottle of drinking water and a plate of rice with stew.
Some told the Nation they arrived as early as 6am, with the meeting beginning four hours later.
A man who declined to give his name and who said he was an unemployed teacher from Kajiado said he had come to try his luck after a friend told him about the organisation’s promise of a lucrative job.
“I arrived at around 10am and during the meeting, they told us they want to identify the poor people in the community and help them, we are supposed to collect that data (on poor people) for the organisation,” he said, but expressed his doubts about the organisation.
Another person, identified only as Mugendi, said he had earlier registered with Sh5,000 in August last year when the organisation held its first meeting at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi, where about 20,000 job seekers came expecting to land lucrative jobs.
“What is very ridiculous is that we are never given any brochures, every information is verbal, and there is no email or commitment,” he said, adding that he had travelled all the way from Isiolo where he conducts his business.
“I paid Sh5, 000 to register and I hear some paid Sh20,000 for registration during the meeting in Kasarani.
“I was told I will be an administration and management trustee in Kisii South B region (beginning September last year) but I do not know what my job is. Even in the letter of appointment, it is not stated what I am supposed to do,” he added.
He said other job titles were chairman, trustee, director, and debt manager, which also do not have job descriptions.
One of the organisers, only identified as Emma, said some recruits, who were assigned jobs in Kiambu, Nairobi, Karatina and Nanyuki, have started working and that those based in Kisii and Nyanza would begin work on Monday next week.
“We are going to recruit many trustees in the regions because there is a lot of work for them,” she said, without elaborating the kind of jobs the recruits were doing.
The new employees would also receive their salaries “once they begin working”.
“You need to register in regional offices and your salary will be wired from that day you begin work,” she said.
Last year, the organisation claimed it was working in cooperation with the Ministry of Planning and Devolution but the ministry denied the claim.
Four of the organisation’s officials were arrested and questioned by the CID on allegations of obtaining money by false pretence and operating illegally.
On Thursday, the NGO Coordination board said the organisation was not an NGO and warned Kenyans against transacting business with it.
“We do not know what it is or who its officials are, some of its alleged officials were arrested by the police last year and you can contact the CID to know how far the investigations have gone,” said the board’s corporate affairs manager, Mr Sekoh Nyadiero.
The Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Ndegwa Muhoro did not respond to our query by the time of filing this story.
The organisation’s CEO Mr Julius Kithome said last year that his mission was to empower people socially and economically.
An appointment letter for the position of regional unit cluster manager given to a beneficiary from Nyanza showed a gross salary of Sh120,000 and the appointee was expected to work for five days in a week and half a day on Saturdays.