KIGALI - The government has vowed to crack down on all unregistered NGOs, or those engaged in illegal activities, after investigations revealed that most of them are involved in fleecing donors of their money under the guise of engaging in development activities.
A damning report to be released by the Ministry of Local Government — which The New Times has seen — indicates that there are many NGOs in the country that are secretly stashing away thousands of dollars from donors with no activities on the ground justifying how the funds were spent.
According to the Director of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation in the ministry, Egide Rugamba, many Civil Society Organisations (CSO’s) are not transparent in the management of their resources and most of them, in their reports, indicate that they spend more than 75% of their budgets on operational costs.
“It means there is something suspicious going on. If an NGO is supposed to engage in development activities and diverts the funds to salaries, there is something wrong. If you can’t see the impact on ground, there is something fishy,” Rugamba said.
The report also lists a number of NGOs engaged in subversive political activities, contrary to ethics governing CSO’s, while others are engaged in promoting the Genocide ideology.
It was also revealed that a number of these organisations are not submitting reports to competent authorities as provided for by the law. Others have been transformed into political groups and acting on behalf of terrorist groups. Some of them have been expelled from the country.
“Some NGOs operate in Rwanda without any registration, and donors continue dealing with them. Those are ghost NGOs and none should contract them in anyway,” the report warns.
The report also reveals that some NGOs tell lies in order to get more funds or hide their mismanagement malpractices by presenting government programmes such Mutuelle de Sante and the tree planting project in Bugesera District as their own.
It was also found that some NGOs present similar proposals to separate groups who go ahead and fund them.
Officials said that development partners have been warned against such NGOs and should always request for a recommendation from the ministry before entering into any contract with them.
It has also been advised that ground verification of achievements in the presence of both the management of NGOs and Local Government Officials, should be conducted before any funds are disbursed. This would enable an objective impact assessment.
According to article 38-40 of the law No 20/2000 of 26/07/2000, every Non-profit making Organization working in Rwanda must submit, by latest April 30 of each year, to the relevant government authorities, a detailed report of its achievements, its balance-sheet and financial situation for the ended exercise but most NGOs forge reports.