“The guy diverts resources meant for vulnerable children to his family.”
Limbe First Grade Magistrates Court will on May next week Wednesday make its ruling on whether or not to discharge a case against former Finance Director at Timotheos Foundation, Wim Akster, a Dutch national, who was arrested over indecent assault charges.
According to a police statement in our possession, Akster was arrested in September 2020 on two counts – trafficking in persons and unlawfully and indecently assaulted Alice Mataya from Namikasi in Blantyre.
The statement, signed by sub-inspector FTK Dzimbiri, indicate that the offences were committed in 2019, but the victim only reported the matter in 2020.
Some insiders believe that the stories was fabricated to bring Akster down considering what has been between the suspect and officials from Timetheos Foundation, who are believed to have schemed the allegations.
However, Akster, through his lawyer, Fostino Yankho Maele, made an application to the court to discharge the case for, among others, lacking merit.
The court has on two separate occasions, on 30th December 2020 and 10th March 2021, Respectively failed to deliver the ruling on the case which, is criminal case number 724 of 2020, due to disturbances emanating from Covid-19 restrictions
But this time around, the court is set to make the ruling on May 26, 2021 from 2:00 pm.
However, the police statement contradicts claims from Eye of the Child and other civil society organizations that the suspect trafficked three girls.
This was corroborated by some sources at Limbe Magistrates Court, where the suspect is expected to face trial should the Magistrate orders that the case proceed.
The sexual allegations are believed to have followed after the infighting between Oomen and Akster over resources and positions at the local charity that supports and cares for orphans and other vulnerable children in the country.
The Foundation receives funding from various donors, including the Dutch Church Aid in Netherlands.
But things are said to have changed at the Foundation following the arrival of Canadian Gerrit Oomen, who joined the Foundation as a field worker but has unceremoniously climbed up the ladder to the position of General Manager.
Inside sources asserted that with the backing from some of the Board Directors of the Foundation in Netherlands, Oomen has been scheming dismissals for Malawians and foreigners, who were managing the facility for him rise and have control over resources.
Efforts to get Oomen’s side of the story proved futile as he didn’t pick our calls, but Charles Paundedi, Director of Programs and founding member of the local charity, quashed the claims, saying, “nothing of that nature happened,” and that those spreading such claims aim to dent the image of the facility and Oomen.
On allegations that he was fired from Stephano Foundation for attempting to topple his boss and also having a hand in sexual allegations against his co-founding member of Timotheos Foundation, Paundedi again said nothing of that sort happened.
According to sources, Akster resigned from Stephano Foundation to team up with Paundedi to establish Timotheos Foundation.
He also resigned as Director of Finance at Timotheos Foundation following extreme unfriendliness from Oomen and other Dutch nationals, including Greco Van Herk.
Sources claim that they started seeing extreme unfriendliness between them when Akster questioned Oomen over alleged abuse of office and resources and the latter was unreceptive and the Foundation became hostile for Akster who resorted to resigning.
“Oomen has managed to deal with those that were questioning him over abuse of power and resources.The guy diverts resources meant for vulnerable children to his family. Which is why communities in Nsanje decided to demonstrate against the facility,” said one of the sources in Nsanje.
Akster also proceeded to step out of the business he established in partnership with Christopher Luhanga Kids Academy of Excellence.
The Academy was registered on 10th November, 2020 under MBRS1090899 in the Malawi Business Registration Database, but Akster ceased to be a partner in the business on 15th December 2020, according to certificate of registration in our possession.
Akster is separately being accused of sexually molesting nine boys, who were at the time beneficiaries of Timotheos scholarships and bursaries.
“The whole plot is to damage Akster so that resources meant for vulnerable children in the country should no longer be channeled through him. Some board of directors and financiers in Netherlands still entrust Akster with resources.
“Unhappy with his connections, they came up with sexual allegations against him hoping that if he is jailed or deported they will have full control of the resources,” claimed our Nsanje based source.
Eye of the Child spokesperson Memory Chisenga, she expressed concerns on the stall of cases saying this continues prolonging the anxiety and trauma on the victims and their families.
“We want justice for these children, the case has been long over due, contrary to public expectations and we are starting to feel like justice is being denied for these victims,” she said.
Chisenga said the victim ages range from 15 to 19 years.
Esmie Tembenu, Executive Director for Family Rights, Elderly and Child Protection (FRECHP) also appealed to the government to thoroughly assess any foreigners coming into Malawi with an aim of opening orphanages and care centres as some are believed to have bad motives behind.
“It is concerning on how many cases rise from such care centres but no action is taken. It is our plea to the ministry that we make sure that our children are protected in those centres.
“Any offender whether foreigner or Malawian must face the law. It is disheartened to see foreigners get away with this while Malawians committing same crimes are being prosecuted,” Tembenu said.
Meanwhile, Gender minister Patricia Kaliati has since ordered Timotheos Foundation to submit expenditure reports for the years 2011-2015 and 2015-2021 to NGO Board between 30th May and 30th June or risk closure
Kaliati made the directive when she engaged officials from Timotheos Foundation, NGO Board and other stakeholders in Nsanje District.
The engagement followed communities protests around Timotheos Foundation Chigumukire Child Care Centre in the district over what alleged poor welfare for children and diversion of resources among others.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :