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Staff of NGO recruiting 20,000 job seekers detained

Top officials of an organisation suspected to have duped thousands of Kenyans with lucrative job offers were on Wednesday arrested by police, allegedly for collecting money from the public by false pretence.

The arrests were made after authorities said the NGO was not registered and had no funds “just yet” to sustain the large number of Kenyans it recruited.

According to NGO Coordination Board chief executive Fazul Mahamed, Sub-Saharan Africa Safe Promotion Foundation-International (SSASP), which attracted thousands to Kasarani Safaricom Stadium with the job offers, was an illegal entity.

“We summoned them today to confirm their registration status. The group came and produced a bunch of brochures and no legal documents to prove their authenticity. We have asked the police to arrest them and now they are with the CID,” he said.

Mr Mahamed said no employer offering to provide jobs was allowed to ask for payment prior to giving an individual a job.

“It is quite unbelievable that a single organisation can employ 20,000 Kenyans. The whole NGO body in Kenya does not have more than 200,000 employees. How is it possible that a single one can accommodate 10 per cent of the total population?” he asked.

One of the officials arrested is a Zimbabwean, Mr Mahamed revealed.

Reached for comment, SSASP CEO Julius Kithome, who was not among those arrested, said the organisation was a legitimate entity.

And it has sponsors willing to finance it once it puts together a work force, he added.

“We did not do it undercover. We went to a public stadium. Actually, it was the Ministry of Devolution officials who advised us to do a massive launch. If we were operating illegally, why then did we have the Prisons band during the launch and why were we cleared to host our event in the stadium?” he asked.

He denied claims of soliciting money from the public.

“We are employing them and not asking them for money. We have a certificate of incorporation since June 2015. We are a legal entity who have been working with various government agencies, including Devolution Ministry, the Police and the National Intelligence Service,” Mr Kithome said.

Mr Mahamed said the officials arrested should be taken to court and charged with three offences: collecting money under false pretence, operating without legal documentation or registration and purporting to have the ability to employ a large group of Kenyans.

It is alleged that the organisation was asking job applicants to pay a fee of Sh350, which would secure them a chance to work with the group.