Didier Drogba Foundation Faces Charity Probe Over Missing £1.7m

Didier Drogba Faces Charity Probe by the Charity Commission, Britain’s official charities watchdog, after it had said it would probe an alleged charity fraud.

The commission said it had “serious regulatory concerns” over the claims.

This was after the Ivorian professional footballer Didier Drogba revealed on Thursday that he would march Daily Mail newspaper, Britain’s second biggest selling newspaper, to court after it published claims that most of the fund raised by his charity in Britain was not put into good use.

According to the newspapers report,  less than one percent of more than £1.7 million (2.1 million euros, $2.4 million) raised by Drogba’s charity in the last five years were used to help sick African children in the former Chelsea star’s homeland of Ivory Coast.

Thus, only 14,000 pounds out of 1.7 million pounds ($2.4 million) donated to the Didier Drogba Foundation was used to cater for children in his homeland Ivory Coast, the paper said.

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It is reported that up to half a million of the donations to the Didier Drogba Foundation since 2009 was rather lavished on fundraising showy events for celebrity supporters during fund raising while over one million pounds cool off in its accounts.

The newspaper also added that the charity had constructed only one of five healthcare clinics it claimed to be investing in.

It also revealed that in one of the charity’s main publicity photographs the children that were claimed to be African beneficiaries of the Foundation were not. It states that they were some child models from the UK, including the grandson of renowned England and Arsenal footballer Ian Wright.

Additionally, it states that the foundation had 20 African orphans transported by bus to a mansion miles from their home, where photographs taken of them with the striker on Christmas Day for promotional pictures which were later posted on Twitter.

The footballer denied the allegations in a strongly worded statement. He also said in the statement said he would issue legal proceedings against the newspaper for “incorrect and libellous” information.

But Drogba added that the report had caused an “untold amount of damage”.

Quoting the footballer:

“Despite sending legal letters and 67 pages worth of documents advising the Daily Mail that their information was factually incorrect and libellous, they have decided to ignore the facts so I am issuing legal proceedings against them today,”

“There is no fraud, no corruption, no mismanagement, no lies, no impropriety.”

The Charity Commission, Britain’s official charities watchdog, had confirmed it would probe the claims after being contacted by the Mail, saying it had “serious regulatory concerns”.

chief operating officer David Holdsworth said.

“The commission has concerns about the administration of the charity and the oversight provided by trustees, all of whom appear to live abroad, as well as allegations that the charity has provided misleading information to donors and the public,” .

He added that:

“Further, the charity has raised and accumulated significant sums of money that have not yet been spent and further information is required over the plans to spend those funds.”

The ex-Chelsea striker, Drogba, 38, founded the charity which named Luvvies in Ivory Coast in West Africa in 2007 and its British arm was launched two years later.

According to the World Bank, 46 percent of the 20 million population of Ivory Coast live in poverty, and four out of every 10 children of primary school age are not in school.