Lawyers representing the Girl Child Network Trust Fund in Britain have asked the Zimbabwean-based organization’s co-founder, Betty Makoni, to step down as president of the non-governmental organization while British police look into allegations funds raised for an ailing Zimbabwean girl went astray.
Sources close to the organization told VOA that the board of trustees of the Girl Child Network Trust recently met in the U.K. and resolved to ask Makoni to step down pending the outcome of the police investigation.
Sources said an appeal to fund life-saving surgery for Taremeredzwa Nomatter Mapungwana, eventually treated at Bartholomew Hospital in London, raised US$20,000 in Zimbabwe and £15,000 in the UK. Questions later arose as to the disposition of some of those funds, the sources told VOA.
Barbara Nyagomo-Mambo, who led the campaign, confirmed that lawyers for the Girl Child Network Trust recently wrote to Makoni asking her to step down so as to clear the way for police to carry out their investigation.
Nyagomo-Mambo told reporter Gibbs Dube of VOA Studio 7 that Makoni, one of Cable News Network's 10 Heroes of the Year for 2009, was unlikely to step down because of her intimate association with the organization.
VOA was unable to reach Makoni for comment on the inquiry.