NGOs under scrutiny over accountability
The Directorate of Immigration and Emigration is investigating Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to ascertain whether funds given to them are used properly, The Sunday Times has learnt.
Information from the department indicates that investigations started last month and will take two months to complete. The probe team is composed of officials from the directorate, district local leaders and representatives from NGOs.
The probe follows persistent reports that some NGOs receive billions yet there is little activity on the ground to justify the money they get.
“We are carrying out evaluations to know how the money is spent. Sometimes, the NGOs give good reports regarding their activities but which is not reflected on the ground,” Ange Sebutege, Communication and Customer Care Officer at the Immigration said.
Sebutege says all NGOs are now required to involve local leaders while planning their activities since leaders know residents’ priorities better.
“In the past, NGOs used to plan their activities without involving district leaders. It was therefore easy to lie,” explains Sebutege in an interview by phone Friday.
In the past, MPs had expressed dissatisfaction, saying the manner in which the funds are spent by some NGOs was questionable. The evaluation exercise will also check whether activities planned benefit people.
He says after the evaluation, NGOs found to have diverted funds or doing what they are not supposed to do will be punished. A source from the umbrella organisation of NGOs working in the HIV/Aids field, says the probe launched by the Immigration is, to some extent, long overdue.
In 1994, right after the Genocide against Tutsi, many people and organisations turned the plight of Rwandans as a means of making money.
There was no way the NGO could get funding if things went back into order, so many took the only option of doctoring their reports to show that they were braving hazards in a country with many orphans and widows.