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Sentebale says LCCU failing to account

by Lesotho Times
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MASERU — The country director of Sentebale, a charity organisation set up by Prince Harry, says the organisation has pulled the plug on a local orphanage because it has failed to account for funds.

Harper Brown said Sentebale had stopped funding the Lesotho Child Counselling Unit (LCCU) because the managers were not willing to follow the basic accounting standards to account for the donations they received from charity organisations last year. 

The managers of LCCU had alleged in international newspapers that Sentebale had reneged on its promises to help fund the organisation which has 15 children.

Most of the children at the unit were abused.

A report in Britain’s Daily Mail said Sentebale’s decision to pull out had left the children starving with no water and electricity.

The report said the situation was desperate.

Brown however said Sentebale had told LCCU that they would not get more funds unless they account for the M16 000 that they received as start-up funds last year.

“We have been battling to get those basic receipts from the LCCU,” Brown said this week.

“Some of the receipts we got have irregularities.”

He said LCCU founder Lydia ‘Muso has been reluctant to account for the initial donation.

“The issue of receipts is very basic. We want to know how the money has been used.

“We cannot commit more money unless we have proof that the money has been used properly.”

Brown said LCCU had failed to reveal some of its donors, one of the main issues that Sentebale require before releasing money to any organisation.

“We need to know who else is giving them money because it’s a basic issue of accountability and transparency,” Brown said.

“We have an obligation to help orphans in this country but we cannot just give money to organisations that don’t want to account for it. We need to know whether the money has reached the intended beneficiaries.”

Brown said there were many adults who were living off children.

He said LCCU and Sentebale had agreed on an annual budget of M559 000 but his organisation had released M16 000 for the children to be moved from ‘Muso’s house into proper dormitories that had been constructed with the help of Standard Lesotho bank. 

“We struggled to get the receipts from Lydia (Muso). It took us more than eight months to get those receipts.

“The other problem is that she rarely attended the monthly meeting we had agreed to hold.”

Brown said the director of Sentebale had since written to LCCU informing them that they were stopping funding because of the lack of accountability and transparency.

The letter said LCCU management was not willing to engage, Brown said.

“We have 16 partners that we are working with and they have all complied with the conditions. LCCU is the only organisation that has been giving us problems.”

‘Muso said she could not talk about the issue because she was in a taxi.

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