Ivory Coast Didier Drogba says he will institute legal action against UK news website, Daily Mail, over a story published yesterday in which his foundation was accused of diverting funds raised to help build hospitals and educate less privileged African children.
In the publication, Daily Mail wrote that Didier’s charity, which is majorly supported by Princess Beatrice and David Beckham, is under investigation by the UK Charity Commission, after it was discovered that only 1% of the money raised for charitable works in Africa by the foundation has been used for charitable works.
The Didier Drogba Foundation is being accused of declining to reveal whether the star paid UK income tax on these sponsorship payments, made over six years while he was with Chelsea and living in a £7 million mansion in Surrey.
Last night, the Charity Commission launched an urgent probe after being handed a dossier of evidence by Daily Mail.
The Charity Commission’s Chief operating officer, David Holdsworth, said it has ‘serious concerns’ and would urgently investigate whether the charity had ‘provided misleading information to donors and the public’.
Rob Wilson, Minister for Civil Society, also said the allegations were ‘extremely worrying’.
Specialist forensic accountants who analysed the documents on behalf of Dailymail said it was ‘crystal clear’ that ‘virtually nothing’ raised in the UK by the foundation has been spent on charitable activities.
The revelations will also be a serious embarrassment to the UN which praises the foundation on its website and made Drogba who enjoys iconic status across Africa one of its Goodwill Ambassadors in 2007. The UN has also vowed to investigate the claims.
Daily Mail states that among the things it found out during its investigation is how the charity: -Raised more than £1.7 million in the UK over five years, but spent just 0.8 per cent of this on good causes. -Claimed to be funding the construction of a hospital and up to five other clinics — but has built only one clinic, which has no staff or medical equipment. -Told supporters one fundraising ball in London had raised £300,000 — even though it was so expensive to put on that it lost £71,000. -Until last year, it had an Ivorian FIFA executive, who was later questioned by police on allegations of bribery, as one of its three trustees. Drogba in his statement said these allegations are untrue and that he will continue with his charitable works.
Below is Drogba’s statement…