NGO’s In MK 146 Billion Cash Gate Scandal : Billions Go Missing In 2015/2016 Financial Year Alone
Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the country have failed to account for 90 percent of donor funds amounting to over MK 146 billion in the 2015/2016 financial year alone,failing to live by what they claim to be practicing as saints.
Social commentators have said the development is worrisome considering that international donors thought the NGOs were better devils in financial management after government proved to be a leaking basket of fraudulent payouts dubbed Cashgate initiated by Joyce Banda’s administration.
The Nation publication reported on Thursday that out of the K146 billion funding that went to NGOs in the 2015/2016 finacial year, only about K15 billion could be accounted for, leaving 90 percent of the resources untraceable.
For government, studies have shown that it is 30 percent of the resources it manages that is not accounted for, which—while still high—is three times lower than NGOs’ so far.
On Thursday evening, Blantyre based social commentator Patrick Achitabwino has said NGOs ought to live by example and that the issue at hand is decisive to the people of Malawi.
“This is a clear indication that NGOs have not practiced what they have been preaching. Because when it was about 30% in the government which led to withholding of aid, there was a lot of talk from the NGOs’ side and that possibly they were the holly ones who could do it. Unfortunately now if we talk of 90 percent it entail that this is another gross abuse of resources never ever anticipated in a country and more especially from a sector which is anticipated to be holly per see,” Achitabwino said.
Achitabwino has, therefore, challenged the international donor community to reconsider its position on withholding direct budgetary aid to government.
“It’s a good wakeup call to development partners because they had placed their trust in the NGOs but now that they noted that NGOs are worse, probably the issue is to turn back to government and give the direct support to the government. Because it entails that much of the resources that were meant for several beneficial projects have not reached the intended purpose,” he said.
The NGO Board report also found that NGOs—now the major channel for off-budget support—have also failed to comply with the requirement to submit financial reports on their activities in the country, with only 25 out of 475 providing audited reports. That represents a compliance rate of just around five percent as of June this year, making it hard for independent players to monitor NGOs’ financial management, trace deliverables, monitor and evaluate implementation, including impact on beneficiaries, who are mostly poor people that donors want to reach with their assistance.
Several donor nations stopped giving direct budgetary support to Malawi in reaction to the mismanagement of funds by the public officers dubbed Cashagte which happened during the Joyce Banda regime.
The donors started channeling their aid through NGOs.