Eden Reforestation Projects accused of financial mismanagement, harboring a fugitive

Dr. Stephen Fitch, former Director at Eden Reforestation Projects. He was removed for embezzling funds

Eden Reforestation Projects, a company that deals in regrowing trees in forests that have badly been depleted is on the spotlight.

As per sources, the founding director Steve Fitch was hounded out of office after he failed to answer to audit questions over missing finances.

His friend, a Jamie Shattenberg who was working in Madagascar was also chased away over the same.

While Dr Fitch stepped down, Mr Shattenberg fled to Kenya without the necessary documents and is said to be hiding in Tigoni area, Limuru.

Corrupt officials at the Immigration Department are in the process of issuing him a work permit thereby enabling him to continue his looting ways at Eden Reforestation Projects, Kenya.

Eden Reforestation Projects is reportedly trying to replace Dr Fitch with Jamie Shattenberg.

In the meantime, Dr Fitch has scammed over 20 donors off their money to plant non-existent tres.

The donors include Bezos Earth Fund, Arbor Day Foundation, Nu Company, Finley & Pioneers of Change, Intrepid Travel, Arbor Day, Aspiration, Verizon, Connection Flooring, Del Decus, Bezos Earth Fund, Zorali, McGrath Foundation  Gift, Carleton One, Reduce, Pioneers of Change, Ecologi, Del Dec’s, Ponteland, Benq, Signum International, Hopper, Skoot Ride, Love Cocoa,More Tree and Safaricom Plc.

In the meantime, the person in charge of the company, a Ms Alexandria Kinzer, doesn’t have the necessary qualifications in reforestations.

It is reported that Dr Fitch picked her from a waitress job in the USA.

Alexandria Kinzer, a waitress with no known background in conservation was appointed a director at Eden Reforestation Projects. Shows you how Muzungu values other places.

The company in currently in dire financial straits after donors discovered that the funds that they sent was never used to grow trees.

Safaricom gave the company some money for the reforestation efforts but when the Telco asked for an audit of the trees planted, Eden Reforestation Projects took them in circles.

It later emerged that the money was used to fund private interests and not a single tree was planted.

In the last quarter of 2021, there was a major boardroom split pitting Mr & Mrs. Kinzer – Eden Kenya and Eden Africa Directors on one hand and the local Kenyan Directors of Eden. The misunderstanding arose from the fact that Eden Reforestation was blatantly lying to GoK about the number of trees planted and also lying that survival rate of the planted trees was more than 85% yet in areas like Kiambu and Mau Forest, the survival rate of planted trees was less than 30%.

Currently, the unlicensed firm doesn’t have a Kenyan in their board.

Kenyan staff have been facing racism and are treated like dogs.

WANTED: Jamie Shattenberg, a fugitive from the law. He looted donor funds while working as a director in Madagascar. He is now hiding in Tigoni, Limuru, Kenya without the necessary papers. He is in Kenya illegally. He is being protected by officials at the Immigration Department taking bribes from Eden Reforestation Projects

“The organization has laid off 50% of its workforce in Kenya between December 2022 and January 2023 and are set to sack more staff. While they are doing that, they are still footing heavy bills of sustaining fugitives like Jamie Shattenberg in Kenya,” an online source said.

How Safaricom was duped into giving Eden Reforestation Project money

During the reign of Keriako Tobiko as Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Dr Fitch approached him for a photo op.

He went ahead to pitch to donors including Safaricom that they have a good rapport with the govt.

Donors sent more money, but it later emerged that the man had lied and manipulated Safaricom, other donors, Kenya Forestry Service and Ministry of Environment.

Eden Reforestation Projects has never applied for Business permit at any of their offices in Kenya (Tigoni – Thayu Farm which is their Headquarters, Malindi, Narok, Homabay). They operate like a wash-wash organization.

His retirement was forced to save the face of the company.

However, claims of toxic work environment, embezzlement of funds, and corruption continue at the organisation.

In 2022, one of their staff drowned in a river in the KALRO land in Naivasha and they kept it quiet. He was hurriedly retrieved ad buried in Bungoma

Can the immigration and other relevant department stand up for good for once?

President William Ruto has a plan to regrow forests in Kenya, but with firms like Eden Reforestation Projects, he won’t succeed.

Eden Reforestation Projects were given over 1000 acres of land in Naivasha by KALRO to regrow, but many months later they have done nothing.

They are only good at PR and photo ops.

Recently, they have started frustrating Kenya Forest Service field officers by denying them permission to visit their allegedly tree planting sites on the filmy excuse that Kenya Forest Service officers are demanding bribes from them. They behave as if the forests in Kenya belong to them and they threaten KFS field staff that they will report them to the FBI.

About the author

Karecha Kamaris

Karecha Kamaris is the space between earth and heaven, the gap between ice and fire, the elementary molecule that justifies unending peace in the sea of turmoil. An 'appetite for adventure over the love of ease'.

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