Table of Contents:
- About ACID.
- History of African Christians in Development (ACID)
- Status of the Organization.
- Acid Objectives.
- Acid Legal History.
- Their Methodology.
- Funds Collected.
- CESRA Recommendations.
- Appendix 1 – About CESRA.
- Current Updates
There are millions of people throughout Kenya and East Africa who are in need of assistance – and thousands of organizations have been launched in response.
However, not all of these organizations are as good as their word.
African Christians in Development (ACID) is an example of an organization that claimed to help people but instead has robbed thousands of their savings, including some of society’s most vulnerable – those living in extreme poverty, orphans, vulnerable children, widows, the elderly. They have accomplished this through an intricate web, designed to prey on the vulnerable and innocent. The result is that a select few have enriched themselves while causing suffering to many others. African Christians in Development (ACID) is well-known throughout East Africa, as they have pursued their activities in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Sudan.
The following paragraphs provide a brief summary of how this organization has deceived people. In this regard, the Center for Social Responsibility and Accountability (CESRA) Kenya would like to request corporations, NGOs and anyone out there to help us bring this gentleman to justice and help us stop him from scamming innocent people of Kenya and other countries in Africa he might be planning to embezzle funds from.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to email us. We thank you in advance for your support and together we shall bring accountability in charitable organizations.
Program coordinator – Morris O. Odour
About African Christians in Development (ACID)
During a meeting called by CESRA’s representative Rev. Morris odour with the directors of ACID trust, it was concluded that Acid entered Kenya through Western Province of Kakamega from Uganda under the Leadership of Mr. Zachariah Bukhala Shimechero who claims that the founder of Acid Aaron Siribaleka of Uganda stayed in his house while planning to start Acid in Kenya.
Mr. Aaron Siribaleka is said to have told Kenyans that his donors were financial heavy and therefore he was able to convince Kenyan that they would receive the education grants.
With the high hopes to the parents of Kenya Mr. Zachariah Shimechero became the centre manager in charge of Kakamega district, Shimechero mobilized people who went in Kampala to undergo training from Aaron Siribaleka. Every trainee paid his or her own money of $ 120 – $150 (US).
The objects and goals were enticing and every needy person could not resist the offer even if it meant borrowing the money to pay for processing. Amazingly, those School fees grant that caused heartbeats has not yet been realized since 2007.
While ACID has become infamous, African Christian in Development is not the only name by which this organization is known. It is also alternatively known as:
- African Christian in Development
- Alliance for Christians in Development
- American Christians in Development; and
- ACID Education Savings Bureau, among others.
Meanwhile, the organization is also affiliated with “Seek the Lord Ministries”, of which Mr. Aaron Siribaleka is said to be a founding Bishop/Pastor to it. As stated above, ACID was originally known as the African Credit Programme.
Fear of being conned.
The delay that Kenyans suffered without being explained what was happening to their grant caused one leader Dickson Sarayi of Nakuru to become suspicious about the time frame of the promised grant. He differed with the Chief Director severally because Mr. Aaron never liked the critical question.
The Katine Case: The ACID Trust has also been operating in a North Uganda village called Katine. Their operations there came to international attention as an example of fraudulent operations, when the nation-wide UK newspaper, “The Guardian,” published an article on June 19th, 2008. The article stated that ACID preached religion and promised to give children scholarships and build houses. In order to receive their benefits, villagers were told they had to pay for membership fees. “In reality,” stated the article, “the ACID took the villagers’ money and vanished. A padlocked door to their office in Soroti is all that remains of the organization in the area.”
In another report a statement was made by Mr. Patrick Ochieng (NRM Bukooli County South, Bugiri, Uganda) in the Ugandan parliament on March 21st, 2007, about how Mr. Aaron Siribaleka started a group called War Raid in Uganda, which stole over 375m Ugandan shillings.
He later launched the African Credit Programme and moved extensively throughout Uganda, collecting large amounts of people’s money. The name African Credit Programme was later changed to African Christians in Development
With the above information reaching Kenya’s national coordinator, he felt they may fall victim of Acid schemes and called CESRA for help.
Status of the Organization:
The status of the organization was intentionally made unclear to those operating on the ground. Those at the grassroots level, both in Uganda and Kenya were left with the impression that ACID is a community-based organization (CBO). Others were led to believe that it is an NGO. It is neither of the two.
- In Uganda: ACID is actually registered as an unlimited company without shares, under section 12 of the non-governmental statute 1990.
- In Kenya: The organization is registered as a company limited by guarantee and not having a share capital, under The Companies Act. A quick overview of the company’s constitution makes it very clear that this company does not have any objectives that are similar to that of a charitable, community-based or non-profit organization.
- Several ACID offices in Kenya were registered as CBOs. This stands in direct violation of both the organization’s constitution as a limited company and Kenyan law.
African Christians in Development (ACID) Objectives:
There are tremendous discrepancies between ACID’s stated objectives in Uganda and those of the Kenyan organization.
In Uganda:: In accordance with its Ugandan constitution, ACID’s objectives are as follows:
- to recruit members for a variety of reasons, ranging from the division of labour to the establishment of a firm foundation;
- To mobilize youth, also for a variety of reasons ranging from construction of buildings and the initiative of the development project to engaging in music, games, sports and drama and uplifting infrastructure development.
- To mobilize women and provide them with development activities;
- To assist the elder and widows, and To assist orphans and children.
The organization’s stated objectives in Kenya are completely different than those outlined above. The Kenyan organization has 38 stated objectives. The organization’s constitution states that its objectives are to:
- establish a money lenders’ scheme;
- “Draw, make accept, endorse, discount, execute and issue promising notes, bills of exchange, warrants, debentures, and other negotiable or transferable instruments.”
- “To promote or assist in the promotion of any company or association having objects similar to the objectives of the company, and also any company or association the objects of which are calculated either directly or indirectly to benefit the company.”
- “To borrow or raise any money that may be required by the company upon such terms and upon such security, as may be stipulated.
- Unlike the organization’s Ugandan constitution, there is no mention of youth, widows, the elderly or orphans.
The leadership of African Christians in Development (ACID) in Kenya
- Isabella Anyona Masinde
- Dickson Ndeti Sarayi
- John Muhanji
The Leadership of African Christians in Development (ACID) In Uganda
- Aaron Siribaleka
- David Mukisa
- Penninah Sanyu
Our detailed investigation shows that there has been no organized leadership structure in the African Christians in Development (ACID) organization in Kenya. Our inquiries also indicate that there is equally a leadership failure in Acid Uganda as very many people have been dropped or discouraged by Aaron Siribaleka’s strange leadership behaviors. In Kenya, the subscribers to ACID Trust are the following individuals, all of whom signed ACID’s constitution as a company limited by guarantee and not having a share capital:
It’s interesting that Aaron has by implication, without issuing official letters, dropped all subscribers to the constitution and put in place tolerant people who cannot bother him on the issue of the failed promises. It’s revealed that even in Uganda subscribers were either dropped or disliked out of leadership. The notorious thing about Aaron’s leadership seems to point at his negligence to forward returns to concerned government offices.
Since there is no proper leadership in place in Kenya and in Uganda, this means Aaron is running an organization claimed to have an international outfit as a one-man show. That limits the scope of accountability and puts people’s money at risk.
African Christians in Development (ACID) Legal History:
Mr. Siribaleka reportedly has a lengthy legal history in Uganda, including having spent at least a year in jail. His poor leadership has spread to other areas where Acid was established. In Kenya for example, the Kakamega leader Zachariah Shimechero claimed to be in charge of all CBOs in the country, and money collected by several CBOs was being taken to Kakamega as the headquarters. That money was never accounted for up to now and Zachariah can deny that he never received parents’ money from other districts where he commanded leadership. However, the organization has also begun to accumulate a legal history here in Kenya.
- On the 12th of July, 2007, Flora Lipesa Kuloba, Floice Akula Ayuma, Evaline Lenny Auma, Elizabeth Chesang, Rachel Chebwogen were charged in the Nakuru court for having been given a letter from Zachariah of Kakamega authorizing them to run Acid affairs in the streets of Nakuru, yet we had an established office. Money was collected illegally from innocent people in the name of Acid and the case is in court up to now. It’s not known legally that a CBO can run another CBO in a different district. Aaron knew of these anomalies in Kenya but could not authoritatively help as his team just concentrated on collecting money. Hence, On August 16th, 2007, Mr. Zachariach Shimechero was arrested for obtaining money in Nakuru under false pretenses.
- On May 20th, 2008 the following individuals were arrested for obtaining money in Kakamega under false pretenses: Dickson Ndeti Sarayi, Penninah Sanyu, Grace Oyela Agufa, although these people never worked in Kakamega. The arrest was organized by Zachariah Shimechero through the PCIO. Later, the PCIO wrote a letter to discharge Grace and Dickson from the case and instead arrested Peninah Sanyu, Zachariah Shimechero himself and the wife as people running the Kakamega office. The case is still on.
The methodology used by ACID is a simple one, designed, to take advantage of those who are naïve and trusting. Those participating in the ACID scheme approached thousands of parents throughout Kenya. The parents were told that ACID would find sponsorship for half their child’s school fees for the rest of their academic career. Parents paid a membership fee of Ksh. 2,000, and Ksh. 3,000 per child for processing the sponsorship.
The parents were informed they would then receive ATM CARDS that would give them access to their accounts. None of these cards have ever materialized since November 2007. ACID also proposed to launch a myriad of other programs throughout Kenya – none of which have ever broken ground.
Since the organization’s launch, millions of shillings have been collected from parents throughout Kenya, all of whom hoped to have their children’s schooling funded. None of these parents have received anything in return. While this scheme appears to have involved many Kenyans, the principal actor has been a gentleman named Mr. Zachariah Shimechero, who was responsible for the Kakamega operations. As highlighted below, Mr. Shimechero, through this office, collected a much greater sum than all of the other offices combined.
A letter dated February 9th, 2007 named Mr. Shimechero the foundation’s collector. The letter gave him the authority to collect funds from ACID members. It was addressed to several people. However, a second letter addressed only to Mr. Shimechero, outlined his role more extensively and also gave him authority to collect money from youth, vulnerable children and orphans and mobilize and register those who would like to attend training courses (for which they would be required to pay training fee).
In addition to this, Isabella Masinde collected millions of shillings in Nairobi. She has never proven willing to provide information about the amount she has collected.
The following funds were reportedly collected from people throughout Kenya:
- Kakamega – 39,722,630 kshs – Center Manager: Zachariah Shimechero
- Busia District – 1,005,000 kshs – Center Manager: Priscilla Mangeru
- Lugari/ Webuye – 2,597,000 kshs – Center Manager: Judith Mbehelo
- Mombasa – 51,000 kshs – Center Manager: Fanuel Asatsa
- Eastern Meru – 1,676,000- Center Manager: Faith Kituyi
- Baringo – 1,236,000 – Center Manager: Carolype Jerono
- Nairobi area – refusal to disclose figure- Center Manager: Isabellah Masinde
- Modete – refusal to disclose figure- Center Manager: Grace Agufa
The Center for Social Responsibility and Accountability (CESRA) Kenya recommends that the following actions be considered and implemented:
- Fees to be paid by Aaron Siribaleka or parent’s money refunded to ended hostility, hatred, and heal the hearts of the aggrieved people.
- Security for complainants and even relocation of residence to be put in place.
- Risk allowances and professional fees to be paid to staff and other parties involved.
- Aaron to be charged for fraud and for misleading innocent and poor people.
- Court cases: As highlighted above, there have been a number of legal actions taken against ACID in Kenya.
- We recommend that these court cases be brought together and considered as a single entity.
- We also recommend that all center managers be required to appear before the FBI and the attorney general’s office for clarification.
- We further recommend that all individuals who were supposed to benefit from this scheme be registered with the attorney general, in order to tabulate an exact number of victims.
- All the court cases to be transferred to the attorney general’s office and Aaron the principal to appear in court for the same.
- Finally, we recommend that African Christians in Development (ACID) to be mentioned in the Kenya Gazette Net for further summoning.
- All the Center managers who did not submit or reveal collected funds from parents be investigated and brought to justice.
Appendix 1 – About CESRA:
The Center for Social Responsibility and Accountability (CESRA) is a registered non-profit organization that aims to strengthen and support non-profit organizations’ ability to serve the public, promote the highest standards of ethics and accountability in their governance and management, and encourage and support corporate companies, as they integrate CSR into their business.
CESRA focuses on improving the accountability of charitable organizations. In this regard, we offer the Seal of Excellence, a voluntary certification program for charities that are based on the fundamental values of honesty, integrity, fairness, respect, trust, and accountability. The program aims to increase public trust and demonstrate the accountability of registered organizations.
The Seal of Excellence:
This mark of distinction is available to non-profit organizations that comply with all of the stringent and comprehensive standards of accountability established by CESRA Kenya. In order to be awarded this seal, organizations must meet a set of 14 standards, which focus on the organization’s governance, fiscal responsibility, and transparency.
We also work with corporations to encourage them to get involved in the community in meaningful and effective ways. CESRA Kenya works with companies from all sectors.
Our philosophy is based on the belief that corporations can work in partnership with charitable organizations to make a real difference in communities throughout Kenya. We help ensure this happens, by pointing members of the corporate community towards organizations that exercise the greatest impact on their target populations. We work with both parties to ensure the development of projects that meet their mutual interests.
Our overall objective is to promote a culture of wise and informed corporate social responsibility in Kenya. Specifically, we aim to:
- Connect companies with reputable charitable organizations:
- Connect companies so they can share best practices on CSR;
- Launch new projects between business and stakeholders:
- Provide information about CSR issues as they emerge:
- Provide expert CSR knowledge to businesses and their stakeholders;
- Contribute to the region’s sustainable development: and
- Ensure Kenyan perspectives are incorporated into the global debate on CSR.
Wednesday, 21 March 2007 Parliament met at 2.35 pm in Parliament …There is one called Aaron Siribaleka from Masaka, the other one is called …… But you hear that Uganda is growing. That is why when you go to the …
www.parliament.go.ug/hansard/hans_view_date.jsp?… – Full report on http://www.parliament.go.ug/hansard/hans_view_date.jsp?dateYYYY=2007&dateMM=03&dateDD=21
Declaration has been fully executed between ACID representative and CESRA. The declaration page can be found in our office.
REPORT COMPILED BY JANET ILLOT
Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2019 10:20:43 +0300
To: firstname.lastname@example.orgGood morning,i hope you are enjoying the new year. First, i would like say sorry for the attack in Kenya this week by Al shabab. Here in Uganda we are so hurt that such bad herated people could think of attacking our neighbour. Our hearts and prayers go out for you. However, i am by the names (Name hidden) a Ugandan national. I would like to know about an organization called (YVCO). It came to my area in Uganda and promised allot to the local residents and i must say i was part of the meeting. However, i have taken time to know more about it and i came across a report by CESRA Kenya talking about how the organization conned people allot of money. They are supposed to come back next week on Monday to take registration details of people interested in joining their organization. The say Aron Siribaleka is the chief of the organization. If you don’t mind please let me know of the authenticity of your publication a bout YVCO such that i can save the residents from being conned of their money. I would be grateful these people a apprehended on Monday.They are using Dr. Mugisha Raymond as their chief mobilizer in Uganda and he is traversing the whole of Uganda for the same cause. They told us that their office in Uganda is at Church House , 7th floor in Kampala city on Kampala Road.Thank you and i will be grateful to hear from you before Monday. Don’t hesutate to contact me on +256………..
Reply from CESRA to the concerned parties
And thank you for the update, all the reports posted on csrkenya.org have been investigated and authenticated. The leader of the group name was Aaron Siribleka of Uganda operating under the name ACID. The government of Kenya Stopped their operation here in Kenya after it was discussed in Parliament. Therefore the report written here has been Validated . I notice that the organization you referring to is called YVCO. We are not in a position to verify if that organization is linked to ACID since they are not in operation in Kenya. I would advise you to contact your local authority to investigate of the same beyond no doubts that the YVCO is linked to the ACID scandal in Kenya.
Further to my advice, you will find that on our report at https://www.csrkenya.org/charity-fraud-in-kenya there is detailed information about programs the Said Aaron undertook in Uganda. You may also follow up with the named persons from Uganda to verify the same thing, also our report names all the affiliated organizations, persons and locations he undertook his operations.
I Wish you all the best in your investigations and if you find any affiliation of YVCO to ACID and Aaron Siribareka please let us know so that we can update the information on our website.
Briefcase organizations are the reason why donors cannot trust and pinpoint the charities that are doing right, therefore we have to be vigilant to report and shame them.
Fri, Jun 7, 2019 at 11:48 AM (Delivered after 70245 seconds)
I recently read an article by Janet Illiot dated March 26, 2009 on your csrkenya.blogspot.com
Aaron Siribaleka is currently operating YVCO in Uganda at this current time. We are in Mbale and along with hundreds of others in this district have paid YVCO thousands of dollars as a district wide group in the last 12 months. To my knowledge NONE of us has received any money that was promised for child sponsorship.
Please help us. We have no recourse to have our money refunded and Mr. Siribaleka is oporating without impunity.
(Name is hidden)
Actual or suspected charity fraud should be reported to us. Fraud is a criminal matter. If you are a member of the public, charity staff or a charity trustee you can report suspected fraud to us by using the charity complaint Form .