Home » Legal and Judicial Affairs » Extend Graft Probe to NGOs – Mliswa

OUTSPOKEN Zanu PF legislator for Hurungwe West, Themba Mliswa, has called on the government to extend its graft probe to local Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), claiming they were squandering donor funds.

“It would be unfair to talk about the corruption which is happening in government what about in the NGOs? Is the money being accounted for in the country? How is it coming through?” Mliswa said at a panel discussion in Harare Thursday evening.

“I would want to ask that in terms of the money coming through NGOs in this country, how much is it? Can they account. Where is it going?”

Mliswa, who is Zanu PF’s provincial chair in Mashonaland West, has been a prominent voice against high-level corruption by top government officials and CEOs running State firms.

After his calls in Parliament some two weeks ago for President Robert Mugabe to institute a probe on corrupt ministers, the legislator came to the SAPES Trust debating forum Thursday to demand the tracing of donor based funds by the State.

“We don’t know how much money is coming in, what is it being used for, so let it (probe) be across the board,” he said.

“Let there be accountability from the NGOs ‘this is the money we have gotten’. What it is being used for? We need to understand how much people are being paid.

“If government is having to declare salaries CEOs are being paid, why can’t we also know how much the NGOs are getting and how much is going to salaries and how much is going towards development.”

The former rugby coach, once incarcerated for claiming Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri was corrupt, also questioned the wisdom of a certain NGO he said has been doing “capacity building” programmes in his Hurungwe constituency when the roads were in a rugged state.

Reminded that the Zanu PF regime was always suspicious of Western funded NGOs it accuses of pursuing regime change in the country, Mliswa played this down.

“The issue of the NGOs probably not in good books with the State agencies, I don’t think it’s true because NGOs come through the very same agencies that they say are fighting them,” he said.

“There is a ministry of labour which, more or less, is responsible. If at any time we thought they were not necessary and were fighting the system, l am sure recommendations would have been made for them not to be around but the mere fact that they are around … they must account.”

He added: “How transparent are NGOs and we would like to see that what stops them from having to publish financial statements in the press so that we know exactly how much comes in and what is it being used for and so forth.

“So let’s see it being done and if not being done, then it certainly raises eyebrows. You don’t have to be called to more or less account. I grew up in a home where your parents sent you to the shops to buy bread and you bring the change to them. You don’t sit with the change.”

But Transparent International Zimbabwe executive director Mary Jane Ncube, who chaired the discussion, called for guarantees the State would not use the information to clampdown on civil society.

“We are very open to disclosing and in other countries l dare to say Transparency International chapters actually have all their statements on their websites,” she said.

“We are open to disclosing and to being accountable and to encouraging our fellow civil society and NGO members to do the same but we are hoping that this is not going to be used as information to persecute civil society and NGOs unnecessarily.”

President Robert Mugabe’s regime accuses NGOs of being conduits of donor funding destined for the opposition MDC.

Back in 2007, the central bank, under its former governor Gideon Gono, has also been accused of grabbing donor funds in foreign currency accounts to prop up what has evidently become a collapsing Mugabe rule.

Source : New Zimbabwe

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