Lobbyists push for arrest of troubled NGOs board boss

Embattled NGO Coordination Board executive director Fazul Mohamed’s woes are far from over after civil society organisations called for his arrest for alleged extortion.

Under the aegis of Civil Society Reference Group, the lobbies accused Mohamed of soliciting kickbacks from NGOs to allow them continue operating in the country. The development comes barely two months after the office of the Ombudsman declared Fazul unfit to hold public office on grounds that his academic papers are fake.

Led by Kenya National Civil Society Congress coordinator Churchill Suba, the groups said Fazul has been soliciting bribes from NGOs, with some threatened with deregistration.

Fazul had in 2015 said 959 local NGOs would be deregistered for failure to properly account for their funding, and links to terrorism. “He has been soliciting bribes from some of these NGOs,” said Suba, who attributed their woes to what he describes as growing trend of political repression of the civil society by the government.

But contacted, Fazul denied the claims and accused the NGOs of fabricating the allegations in order to scuttle his efforts to rid the sector of some briefcase organisations that have been minting millions of shillings from donors in the pretext of assisting Kenyans.

He said some NGOs had developed cold feet due to the stringent measures he has put in place to control the sector, such as the law requiring expatriates employed by the NGOs to have work permits.

“Those claims are baseless and only comparable to the proverbial kicks of a dying horse. If they have any tangible proof, they should report to either the police or EACC,” Fazul told People Daily on phone.

He vowed not to let the allegations deter him from cleaning up the sector. The civil society also accused Fazul of implementing decisions not endorsed by the NGO Board. Section Six of the NGOs Act provides that the quorum necessary for the transaction of the business of the board shall be 11 members, including at least seven members appointed from the ranks of NGO Council.

East Africa regional director of Article 19 Henry Maina said for the better part of the last three years, the board has been rendered dysfunctional. He said absence of Maj Gen (rtd) Hussein Ali, who has reportedly declined to take up his appointment as chair of the NGO board, makes it incapable of making legally-binding decisions. “Does it mean Parliament operates at the whims of an individual who does not even qualify for this post?” asked Maina.

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