Saido Berahino Foundation: Mystery over ex-West Brom star's charity fund
A foundation set up by ex-Albion striker Saido Berahino is to be probed by the Charity Commission.
The move comes after WaterAid revealed it had not received any cash donation from the Saido Berahino Foundation (SBF).
The charitable organisation was launched at a glitzy Mayfair party billed as a 'fundraising gala' for WaterAid in May 2015.
The star-studded event was attended by a string of Albion's first team players as well as club legend Cyrille Regis, Wolves' keeper Carl Ikeme, Irish model Vogue Williams and Burundi runner Diane Nukuri at the London Hilton on Park Lane.
At the event, Berahino posed for photographs in front of boards with an SBF logo stating 'in support of WaterAid'. His foundation also promised to create hundreds of scholarships for African children.
An auction was held on the night where former team-mate Victor Anichebe helped raise £1,000 for a coaching session with Berahino by acting as auctioneer.
But last night WaterAid told the Express & Star it had never received any donation from the event despite believing it would do so. And the charity said it had not had any contact with the foundation for over a year.
The charity said: "WaterAid was approached by the SBF in February 2015 regarding a dinner to be held on May 5 2015 at the Hilton Park Lane to raise funds for the foundation.
"The event was not managed or paid for by WaterAid.WaterAid staff attended the event and we provided images and film for use on the foundation website but made no financial contribution towards the event.
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"It was WaterAid's understanding that we would receive a donation from the event.
"WaterAid has not, to date, received any money from the SBF. WaterAid has not had contact with representatives from the SBF since March 2016."
Last night representatives from the foundation said the gala event never made 'significant funds' to enable it to make a donation.
Meanwhile, the Charity Commission said it would be getting in touch with WaterAid and the SBF to 'decide whether there are regulatory issues to assess'.
The WBA Former Players' Association also made a donation of £50 to the foundation as a 'goodwill' gesture. Secretary Geoff Snape said the association had not heard anything from the foundation since handing the cheque over to Berahino.
The SBF website, set up in 2015 listing the foundation's aims, is no longer accessible and its Twitter account has not tweeted since March 31 last year.
Its site had said a 'scholarship' programme supporting 108 'disadvantaged' and 'underprivileged' African children would be funded by the SBF and launch in September 2015, continuing every year.
Berahino was born in Burundi and came to this country at the age of 10 before setting out on his football career. He now plays for Stoke City after an acrimonious departure from The Hawthorns in January.
An SBF tweet on August 13 in 2015 read: "We have a major sponsorship overhaul programme that will be announce and launch next month. Hundreds will benefit yearly." No further reference to the programme is made on its timeline.
The SBF is not a registered charity but is managed by a charity called The Philanthropy Foundation which is run in partnership with London law firm Forsters LLP. The Philanthropy Foundation is registered with the Charity Commission.
A commission spokesman said: "The SBF is not registered with us. We are also aware WaterAid has confirmed that they have not received any money from the foundation. We will now be getting in touch with the foundation and with WaterAid to decide whether there are regulatory issues we need to assess."
The Philanthropy Foundation website refers to the 'Saido Berahino Fund' and supplies bank account details for donations.
The latest publicly available financial summary for The Philanthropy Foundation on the commission website shows it had £4,618 income but spent £24,234 for the year ending October 31, 2015. Because its income was less than £10,000 it did not need to file an annual return with further details.
Charles Pike of The Philanthropy Foundation said: "WaterAid was considered as a potential beneficiary of funds from The Berahino Fund at the Philanthropy Foundation but because the Foundation did not receive significant funds after the dinner to which you refer, the Foundation was not in a position to make a donation (whether to WaterAid or any other charitable organisation)."
Justin Rigby, a spokesman for Berahino, said he was unaware any money had been promised to WaterAid but he could not contact the player before Stoke's match against Burnley last night.
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