Fraudsters won funding from Home Office, Barnardo's and Football Foundation

Convicted trio obtained more than £500k from 10 grant-makers in total

Ten funders, including the Home Office, Barnardo’s and the Football Foundation, gave money to the charities set up by the three people convicted this week of fraudulently obtaining more than £500,000 from grant-makers.

Kitumbula Mazambi, his wife Mapendo Kasiba and his brother Kyalemaninwa Mazambi were convicted at Isleworth Crown Court on Wednesday of conspiracy to defraud.

Third Sector reported yesterday that Comic Relief, BBC Children in Need and the Big Lottery Fund’s predecessor, the Community Fund, had been targeted by the group.

Papers for the court case show that other organisations that gave money to charities set up by the group included the City Bridge Trust, the Community Investors Development Agency, the Royal Society of Widlife Trusts and the London Network Fund.

The convicted trio were linked to a group of people who are believed to have set up more than 30 charities.

They then applied for funds of up to £60,000 a time for projects that, according to a statement from the Metropolitan Police, were "so vague and nebulous that it would be extremely difficult to check whether the projects had in fact been carried out".

The statement said there was "little or no evidence of bona fide charitable work being done, but ample evidence of the suspects using the funds to finance their lifestyles and/or send abroad".

Organisations set up by the group included the Great Lakes Initiative and Support Project, the Tanganyika Physical Activities Club, the African Francophone Women Forum and the Newham Great Lakes Youth Club. All four are currently registered with the Charity Commission, according to its website.

A spokeswoman for the commission said the charities set up by the individuals that have been convicted met the legal test for registration.

"Our decision to enter an organisation on the register must be based on whether that organisation is a charity in law," she said. "Even if there were issues about the suitability of trustees, we would have no power to refuse registration. However, those issues would be taken forward and investigated post-registration."

The spokeswoman said the commission had been carrying out a statutory inquiry into the charities, but this was put on hold in 2006 when criminal proceedings began. It will now recommence.

"We will determine whether any regulatory concerns remain outstanding and take any necessary regulatory action accordingly," she said.

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