NGOs’ withdrawal of large sums raises eyebrows

Political Reporter

Financial and political analysts have raised concern over the large sums of money that Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs) or Non-Governmental Organisations NGOs withdraw from banks without oversight from authorities.

The analysts fear that the leeway given to these NGOs might be abused by same to fund rogue activities in the country. They argue that in other countries, NGOs were popular conduits for financing of terrorism.

 The analysts implored government to make Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs) or Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) adopt the use of electronic transactions that leave paper trails that can be audited.

Speaking to this publication, one analyst, Taiziwa Mutyori bemoaned the laxity of financial monitoring on these organisations.

“We are quite aware that these organisations are authorised to withdraw their money beyond the stipulated limit since the money in their accounts is treated as remittances, which are obtained from outside and were not obtained using any local resources.

“Such funds are withdrawn and used freely without government interference. However, this privilege is prone to abuse as they can be diverted to feed the black market or to sponsor illegal activities,” said Mutyori

David Karimazondo, a political analyst concurred with Mutyori saying that NGOs funds are donations from the west meant to support local opposition political parties and individuals to stage mass demonstrations and civil unrest.

“We call on Government to regulate the way these organisations operate. This can be done through limiting their cash withdrawals and to encourage them to adopt the electronic banking and transacting system in order to leave a paper trail that can be audited,” Karimazondo said.

The analysts said that there should be a serious enforcement of Sections 19 and 20 of the PVO Act, which demands that these organisations have their accounts audited by a registered public auditor every year.

The Act also empowers the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to assign any public service officer to inspect the financial records of these organisations.

Mutyori urged Government to activate the PVO Board to keep the NGOs in check.

“This is not unique to Zimbabwe but this is also happening in countries such as the United States of America where all NGOs and PVOs are expected to submit financial records to the US Federal Tax Agents called the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) and by law their accounts should be prepared by a registered accountant, who are expected to check and report any violations on US federal regulations on issues of combating terrorism,” Mutyori said.

Zimbabwe has had a plethora of problems caused by the NGOs as they sponsor violent mass demonstrations after the July 31 2018 harmonised elections.