The Civil Society for Poverty Reduction in Eastern province says it is dismayed that the NGOs involved in the allegged embezzlement of donor funds have remained silent dispite the issue being in public domain for sometime now.
And the CSPR regional Coordinator Maxson Nkhoma says the orginasation is shocked and disturbed to learn of reports of financial abuse and misappropriation of donor funds in the tune of $1.9 million meant for monitoring the 2016 general elections.
Commenting on the confirmation by police that it had recieved a report of fraud involving three civil society Organizations in the country namely the Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP), the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), and the Southern Centre for Constructive Resolution of Dispute (SACCORD) Mr Nkhoma said the named NGOs should tell the public what happened to the money.
“The $1.9 million believed to have been misappropriated is part of the $3.5 million grant given to the three CSOs from UKaid through the British Council under the project dubbed “Zambia Accountability Project”(ZAP) a project meant to enhance transparency, free and fair 2016 general elections.
“We have noted with dismay that while this matter has been in public domain in the past few weeks, the CSOs involved have remained mute over the matter without giving any official position over these serious allegations. Following a statement from the Zambia Police Service regarding this matter, it has become necessary for the board of directors from these institutions to immediately inform the public on what happened to the donors funds without any further delays.”
He also demanded for the Board of Director of the three organisation to take collective measures and suspend officers involved in the alleged fraud.
“CSPR further demands that the Board of Directors of the three institutions immediately take corrective measures by suspending involved officers from their positions to pave way for smooth investigations into the matter.
“It is disheartening and regrettable to see civil society organizations implicated in financial scam when they have been asking for accountability from government officials. We call for greater accountability among civil society organizations and embrace value for money for donors funds .The same principles of transparence and accountability civil society organizations demand from government must be observed by CSOs themselves.”
He went on to defend the credibility of CSOs in the country.
“We also want to make it very categorically clear that this financial scam involving a few officers from three civil society organizations does not in any way represent the general picture of civil society organizations in Zambia and we appeal to law enforcement agencies to expedite the investigations and those found wanting must be brought to book without delay.
“CSPR calls on CSOs in Zambia to immediately conclude the process of developing the code of conduct for civil society actors as part of the self regulatory framework. This will help to restore public integrity while maintaining high values on transparency, accountability and inculcate discipline amongst civil society organizations,” he said.