Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu – Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s daughter – was asked to step aside as the executive director of The Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation last week. The foundation, according to its website, “harnesses, consolidates, preserves and propagates the values, principles and mission of its founders to contribute sustainably to the creation of a more compassionate world”.
The board met last week and decided to look into grounds of a possible conflict of interest between the foundation and Tutu’s wife, Professor Marceline van Furth. A professor in paediatric infectious diseases, Van Furth also occupies the Desmond Tutu Chair of Medicine at Vrije Universiteit, in the Netherlands.
“Following a preliminary investigation, the board of the Foundation has asked its executive director, the Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu, to step aside, while a process is undertaken to tighten administrative procedures and practices, and mitigate potential for perceived conflicts of interests between the foundation and its partners,” foundation spokesperson Don MacRobert said in a statement on Sunday.
In February 2013, the Dutch Postcode Lottery donated €2 million (R35.7 million) to the foundation. Of that, €1.5 million went to a joint special project by the Vrije Universiteit Medical Centre and The Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation.