Johannesburg - The fund for child-burn victims – set up by Pippie Kruger’s family – has lashed out at the Hawks after the police unit said they were seeking to prosecute for the alleged misuse of the fund’s money.
“We feel there are some elements that point to some wrongdoing in terms of the way the funds were used,” said Hawks spokesman Captain Paul Ramaloko.
Pippie’s parents, Anice and Erwin, established the Pippie se Gesiggie (Pippie’s face) fund to raise money for burn victims to pay for their skin graft- and burn-related operations.
The Hawks first confirmed they were investigating the alleged misappropriation of the fund’s money in August last year, but the Director of Public Prosecutions later declined to lay criminal charges.
Ramaloko said he hoped they would come to a different decision when the Hawks resubmitted their docket, which he would only confirm would happen “soon”.
The spokesman would not reveal any more details around the investigation or who they were seeking to prosecute because he said it could prejudice their case.
But this has angered those involved with the fund, who have said that none of the people close to the fund have been questioned by the police and that they hear news regarding the investigations only through the media.
“That was all news to us, and to the Krugers as well. We have no idea on what they base this on,” said the fund’s spokeswoman, Lynne Zurnamer.
She said they had nothing to hide as their finances were being audited and that they would release the final results publicly once the audit had been completed.
The Hawks have previously said they were tipped off on the allegations by a whistle-blower,
Pippie suffered major burns over 80 percent of her body on New Year’s Eve 2012 when a bottle of gel-lighter fluid exploded.
She underwent a breakthrough procedure in June 2012 when cloned skin was brought over from the US and grafted onto her burn wounds.
The Pippie se Gesiggie fund helped Celiwe Maseko, 5, who had suffered burns to 35 percent of her body, undergo the same operation in April last year.