Wonders, it is said, never end, and clichéd as the expression is, it will continue drawing references because there is always something new to wonder about in the world, despite our supposed shock-proof, have-seen-it-all life experiences.
Else, how to qualify a Christian non-governmental organization that set up shop to intervene on behalf of orphans, and then ends up attracting so much controversy as to force authorities to look into its affairs?
Such is the summary of the affairs of Italia Solidale, an NGO set up by two priests in 1997 to ostensibly solicit help for the many orphans and widows resulting from the 1994 Genocide, but has ended up being accused by its beneficiaries that the organisation’s managers were enriching themselves at their expense. The NGO leaders have had several brushes with the law, the most recent being the Supreme Court’s order that the NGO’s books be audited.
Be that as it may, it is always shocking whenever such abusive relationships of father-figures abusing their charges come to light, especially when they go begging from other taxpayers to come to the aid of suffering vulnerable groups. When such aid is given in good faith, it needs to be utilized for the purpose it was intended. Short of this, the fraudsters need to be exposed and dealt with.
About the audit the Supreme Court is seeking: the bidders’ asking price of Frw12 million and Frw15 million, to audit one small NGO which has been in operation for just a few years with a less convoluted volume of activities, is a bit on the high side. We have to consider that this money is coming from our taxpayers’ budget, and so a more patriotic and less expensive audit firm could be used, and the balance used more judiciously elsewhere.
As for the alleged abusers of orphans’ funds, what better way to show other abusers of their charges other than making them face the full wrath of the law if found guilty of abuse of office?
It is high time government took a closer look into the affairs of all NGOs, as it appears that some are more interested in their own officers’ survival more than the reason for their coming into being.