Wednesday, 17 December 2014

15 NGOs deregistered over terrorism funding claims

NGOs Co-ordination Board Deputy Director Henry Ochido (left), Executive Director Fazul Mahamed Yusuf (centre) and Juliana Akinyi, Head of Operations Compliance and Research, brief journalists at Co-operative House in Nairobi on December 16, 2014 when they announced that 15 NGOs had been deregistered for allegedly financing terrorism activities. PHOTO | RAY OCHIENG | NATION MEDIA GROUP

 Posted  Tuesday, December 16, 2014 |  by- SAMUEL KARANJA 

The government has deregistered 15 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for allegedly funding terrorism activities in the country and the region, and their officials are likely to be prosecuted.
The NGOs Co-ordination Board has also deregistered another 510 charitable organisations for failing to file their audited reports as required by law, frozen their accounts and acquired their assets for redistributing to other NGOs pursuing similar activities.
Another 12 NGOs with an income of more than Sh500 million and which have failed to file their audited reports have been given 21 days to do so or their licenses would be revoked.
According to regulation 24 of the NGOs Co-ordination Regulations of 1992, all charitable organisations are required to file annual reports and audited accounts with the board.
Investigations have revealed that four of the 15 charitable organisations possibly funded the August 7, 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania in which hundreds of people were killed.
Board executive director Fazul Mahamed Yusuf said the accounts of the NGOs suspected of aiding terrorism have been frozen and their assets seized.
“It has come to the attention of the board that some NGOs have been used in criminal activities, including as conduits of terrorism financing in Kenya and in the Horn of Africa.
“The board has deregistered these organisations, frozen their accounts and forwarded information on them to relevant government security agencies for appropriate actions,” he told reporters Tuesday at the board’s offices.
Mr Mahamed, however, would not name the organisations aiding terror, citing the “high sensitivity” of the information, adding that revealing them would “interfere with investigations”.
The NGOs have been operating mostly in the Coast and north-eastern Kenya regions, which have both borne the brunt of terrorism attacks.
The board has also revoked the work permits of the expatriates working for the deregistered charitable organisations, added Mr Mahamed.
He said extensive investigations by both local and international detectives helped unearth the rogue NGOs suspected of financing criminal elements, adding that after investigations are completed, the officials would be prosecuted.
Investigations have revealed that once donors give money to the NGOs, these agencies in turn transfer huge amounts to accounts where terror suspects access the money.
Donors have also been put on notice, with the board official saying they would also be held accountable if money they give to NGOs is used to finance criminal activities.
“Donors must also be held accountable and we will also require them to give us the list of the NGOs they have funded and for what purposes,” said the executive director.
There are more than 3,000 registered NGOs in the country operating accounts worth billions of shillings, according to the NGO Co-ordinating Board official.
Among the 12 NGOs put on notice for failing to comply with the law are Medecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), with offices in Switzerland, France and Belgium; Technoserve Kenya; Water for Life; LVCT Health; Adventist Development and Relief Agency International; and Artsen Zonder Grenzen-Holland.
Others are the Centre for Health Solutions Kenya; Concern Worldwide; FH Association; and Veterinaires Sans Frontieres Belgium.

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