OVER 2.25 million US dollars (over 37bn/-) raised last year in an elephants protection charity walk organised by US-based Friedkin Conservation Fund and locally based Africa Wildlife Trust (AWT) was not meant for the Ministry for Natural Resources and Tourism.
A Director with FCF, Mr Michel Allard, who alongside AWT's Director, Mr Pratik Patel are accused of cheating when they declared that proceeds from the charity walk would benefit conservation and anti-poaching activities.
"The charity walk organised last year by the African Wildlife Trust (AWT) was, to the understanding of the Friedkin Conservation Fund (FCF), an event to create awareness to the public about the elephant poaching crisis," Mr Allard said.
Responding to the 'Daily News' questions regarding the money raised during the charity which has raised eyebrows, Mr Allard said the money is what FCF uses annually for conservation work and not an amount raised to support such work.
Defending FCF and AWT's role in the charity walk and criticism that money raised has not been remitted to the ministry, Allard said, "To achieve the above awareness objectives, FCF prepared a dummy check to the tune of 2.25 million US dollars payable to Friedkin Conservation Fund by its partner companies listed and represented by the respective logos at the bottom of the check."
During the charity walk Allard and Patel presented the dummy check to the then Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Lazaro Nyalandu. The FCF Director pointed out that the dummy presented to Mr Nyalandu was only symbolic and meant to show what his institution spends annually.
"The check represents the sum total of the 2013 expenditure budget of FCF in order to carry out wildlife conservation and community development activities in various parts of Tanzania," he noted.
The FCF operates as two separate but related entities, one is a Texas based non-profit corporation that is registered as an entity in the United States, while the other is known as The Friedkin Conservation Fund of Tanzania and is set up in Tanzania as a charitable Trust.
The Fund was established for the purpose of conserving more than 6.1 million acres of Tanzania's protected wildlife areas. It focuses on anti-poaching operations working closely with the Wildlife Division of Tanzania. Apart from being Director of FCF, Allard is also Director of Tanzania Game Tracker Safaris Ltd, Wengert Windrose Safaris Ltd and Mwiba Holdings Limited.