The dangers of despising corruption.No amount of smear campaign will stop the TRUTH.No amount of intimidation will silence the TRUTH. Many ordinary citizens like me are being threatened, harassed,terrorised and intimidated into silence as we speak about the rot in our society that is seeing the poor suffering taken advantage of .
NGOs abusing donated funds
A number of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are abusing donated funds before projects are implemented, disadvantaging the intended beneficiaries in the process.
The National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations confirmed the disturbing trend describing it as a “big issue,” damaging the image of the civic society.
“It’s a huge challenge because of the volatile economic environment given the many temptations in the value of the United States dollar,” said the association’s spokesman, Fambai Ngirande.
Recently, the United States-based Kellog Foundation, which bankrolled projects in southern Africa amounting to US$350 million since 1986, withheld funding after uncovering financial irregularities on some of its projects.
The Associated Press reported last week that the Global Fund to Fight AIDS and other communicable diseases is demanding that Zimbabwe return millions of dollars in donations it says were misused.
The Fund says it wants US$7,3 million back from the $12.3 million it donated to Zimbabwe although David Parirenyatwa, the Health and Child Welfare Minister, professed ignorance over the missing funds.
Investigations by The Financial Gazette have unearthed questionable events at the Girl Child Network (GCN), led by Betty Makoni.
GCN senior management warned Makoni that delays in bankrolling some projects were threatening the survival of the organisation but the director ignored their advice before she relocated to Botswana in March claiming her life was in danger.
In one of the documents, a senior management team at GCN said: “We note that the current non-implementation of programmes is a double-edged sword for GCN…We feel it is important not to abandon girls in this time of great need.”
The team was reportedly dissolved for questioning Makoni’s decisions while its proposed programme of action for this year was stuffed in the bottom drawer.
It is also alleged that school fees for hundreds of girl child beneficiaries under some of the donor-driven projects have not been paid for two whole terms.This has prompted some GCN employees to agitate for donors to institute independent audits and to scrutinise the organisation’s projects.
In e-mailed responses, Makoni dismissed the enquiries as part of “a long standing campaign from unnamed quarters seeking to pillage what she has built. For all the questions you have we have supporting documents.
“You should see them for yourself lest your source exaggerated,” wrote Makoni.
She said GCN was experiencing problems paying top-up fees because the donations were not catering for the impact of inflation on the country’s schools. GCN insiders told The Financial Gazette that ever since Makoni relocated to Botswana, operations have slowly been grinding to a halt. Workers went without salaries for two months in March and April.
“There is no way to get you paid if the finance team has not done the books and followed up with funders. When all funders send in money we can use some to pay staff and some for programmes,” Makoni informed GCN staff by e-mail. The organisation’s monitoring and evaluation grants checklist indicates that GCN major donors — Stephen Lewis Foundation, Oxfam Novib, Rotary Club International, the US State department, the British Embassy and Canadian International Development Agency advanced thousands of US dollars to the organisation.
GCN spokesman, Kumbirai Mudzingwa refused to disclose the amount of funds funnelled for its projects over the phone.
But according to the grants checklist made available by Makoni tabulating external funders and their contributions, GCN has had more than US$1 million advanced and pledged by donors for the period August 2007 and December 2009. The US State department advanced a US$152 000 grant to help fight child trafficking in Zimbabwe through awareness campaigns, training and rehabilitation of rescued girls for the period September 2007 to August this year.
Sources at GCN say the outreach programme never materialised because Makoni withheld funds from personnel on the ground.
No reports on the progress of the project have been made although the period over which the grant was supposed to have been used has since passed with not even one girl child trafficking victim on its records.