Tuesday, 26 January 2010
WYCLEF SHEDS TEARS AT HAITI FUND CONTROVERSY
Haitian born Wyclef Jean held a press conference to dispel rumors that his Yele Haiti foundation had misused funds and failed to properly file its taxes. "If you're a man with a clear conscience, speak with a clear conscience and the world will know," Wyclef said to an audience of reporters. "The books are open. We have a clean bill of health from an auditor."
This came after The Smoking Gun published a report accusing Jean of using Yele Haiti funds for his own personal use and failing to file tax returns in a timely manner.
Wyclef lashed out at the rumours. "Have I made mistakes? Yes," Jean said at the news conference. "Did I ever use Yele money for personal benefits? Absolutely not."
With tears rolling down his cheeks, the star host at last year’s MTV Africa Music Award ceremony in Kenya insisted the money will be put to good use. "I was the one carrying the little girls to the morgue. In reality, my people are dying. I have to go back for relief. I do not cry for myself. I cry for them," the star said.
In a moving pre-Christmas message on his website, the former Fugees wrote about Haiti and hope: "At times when I go to Haiti I ask myself what would have happen if I never made it to America? What would I be doing right now? What if I never became Wyclef, and Wyclef was getting on the plane today to come to Haiti to bring me food and Christmas Gifts how would I feel.
When I reflect on such things, it makes me understand that to live for others is the none selfish way to live. At times we are so caught up with ourselves that we forget about those around us. Some say they can’t help the needy because they have no money to give to the poor. I say no one gave me money, in the hut they gave me hope."
The allegations threaten to derail a charity effort that has been overwhelmingly successful since the 7.0 earthquake struck 8 miles beneath Port-au-Prince, causing massive devastation and an estimated 100,000 casualties. Yele reportedly pulled in over Sh76 million in the disaster's first 36 hours, and the foundation now counts its donation base at "several million dollars."