Envoys fault body over cancellation of over 900 NGOs
Nine ambassadors to Kenya have condemned the move by the non-Governmental Organization Coordination board to cancel the licenses of 959 NGOs in the country for non-compliance.
In a statement sent to newsrooms, the envoys of the United States of America, The Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Germany, and Denmark, along with the High Commissioners for the United Kingdom and Canada applauded the government’s move to suspend the board’s order saying that the board’s move had raised serious concerns.
“As international partners, we are fully committed to supporting appropriate transparency and accountability with regard to NGOs. However, we also believe that regulation must be fair, reasonable, and justly administered,” read the statement in part.
They noted that the NGOs required timely information and an opportunity to answer any questions before their licenses are cancelled.
The envoys stated that as donors they had not observed anything amiss with the audit reports and accountability of the organisations, adding that there was no evidence to suggest that the NGOs they support are involved in any illegal activity.
“We, as donors, require detailed financial reports and regular audits from NGOs that we partner with, and insist on transparency and accountability in our ongoing oversight. We have no evidence that NGOs to which we provide donor funds are supporting or funding terrorism or are engaged in other illegal activity,” read the statement.
They noted that a strong civil society is vital to protecting fundamental rights, strengthening democratic institutions and ensuring security among other things.
“NGOs provide a wide range of essential services to Kenyans including in healthcare and education,” they noted.
They further urged the government to implement the Public Benefit Organizations Act of 2013 which would provide a framework for the regulation of the sector.
Last week, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru suspended the announced deregistration of 959 NGOs over their alleged flouting of laws governing non-governmental organizations.
Waiguru told Citizen TV the move is to allow the NGOs more time to file proper returns and meet the stipulated conditions.
The decision came hours after the NGO coordination board gave notices of deregistration and sought to freeze accounts of the listed organizations.
The NGO board had accused the NGOs of misappropriation of funds, funding terrorism and money laundering, diversion of donor money and also failing to file their audited books of accounts as required by law.
The NGOs were to be deregistered for allegedly failing to account for a total of Sh23 billion out of Sh140 billion received from donors.
Notable NGOs accused of financial malpractice included the Kenya Human Rights Commission, the African Population and Health Research Centre and the African Development Solutions.
Other notable NGOs accused of failing to declare their books of accounts include the Kalonzo Musyoka Foundation, Airtel Foundation and Ahadi Kenya Trust.
The NGOs had however refuted the claims.
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