The Associated Press (AP) reports today (1 December 2010) the organisation ‘bestowing the honor appears to be little more than a Florida phone number and website’.
The organisation calling itself the World Citizen Awards is hosting a lavish dinner in the Bahamas tomorrow to present its medals. Dlamini flew out of Swaziland this week to collect his gong.
AP reports, ‘The World Citizen Award website also included a listed of trustees that a respected peace group said was used without its permission.
‘Richard C. Allen, a lawyer for the World Peace Foundation, said in an e-mail to the AP that the trustees list on the World Citizen Award site was “lifted without authorization from the web site of my client, the World Peace Foundation, a well-respected NGO in the U.S. Neither the World Peace Foundation nor its Board members are connected with the ‘World Citizen Award.’”
‘The site also claims the World Citizen Award medal was designed in 2007 by Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland, assisted by the Swedish engraver Erik Lindberg. Vigeland, who designed the Nobel Peace medal, died in 1943. Lindberg, who designed the Nobel physics, chemistry, medicine and literature medals, died in 1966.
‘The Internet domain name for the World Citizen Award website is registered to a man named Rudolph Laroda. A man identifying himself as Laroda's spokesman declined to answer questions and a few hours later the list of trustees had disappeared from the website.
‘News reports in the Caribbean say questions have been raised for some time about the activities of a man using the names Rudolph King, Rudy King-Laroda and Kermit Rudolph Casito Laroda.
‘A report of a 2006 press conference he apparently held at a Bermuda hotel quoted him as announcing that retired South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Hollywood stars Halle Berry and Will Smith would be among luminaries coming to Bermuda for a “Global Vision Awards of Excellence” event.
‘Tourism officials and spokesmen for the celebrities involved denied any involvement, and the event was never held.’
AP also reports, ‘Chief [Swaziland] government spokeswoman Macanjana Motsa, who went along on the trip, did not respond to phone calls from The Associated Press or an e-mail asking whether the kingdom had taken any steps to determine the award's legitimacy or had been asked to pay any costs associated with the award.’