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NGOs lose licences over terrorism claim

Wednesday May 27 2015

Muhuri Executive Director Hassan Abdule and Chairman Khelef Khalifa address a press conference on May 28, 2015 condemning the government’s move to outlaw their operations.

Muhuri Executive Director Hassan Abdule and Chairman Khelef Khalifa address a press conference on May 28, 2015 condemning the government’s move to outlaw their operations. LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

JUSTUS WANGA
By JUSTUS WANGA
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Three NGOs have been banned in the ongoing clampdown on civil society organisations accused of operating outside the law and financing terrorism.

Muslim for Human Rights (Muhuri), Haki Africa and the Agency for Peace and Development, have been deregistered and barred from operating in the country after the sector regulator, the NGO Coordination Board, cancelled their licences Thursday.

The three were among organisations gazetted by the Inspector General of Police, Mr Joseph Boinnet in April, on suspicion of supporting Al-Shabaab activities. The decision to publish their names was taken after the April 2 terrorist attack on the Garissa University College in which 148 people were killed.

Muhuri was accused of illegally operating 13 different bank accounts while Haki Africa was not duly registered. “None of these bank accounts, 12 in NIC Bank and one in Gulf African Bank, have duly been consented to by the NGO board,” said the letter that announced the NGOs’ deregistration.

“The other organisation, Haki Africa, where some members of this NGO (Muhuri) are members, also hold bank accounts in the same bank.”
Under the NGO Act, all non-profit organisation are required to furnish the NGO Board with bank statements of all the accounts they operate as well as the names of all the signatories.

Mr Khelef Khalifa is the Muhuri chairman while Mr Hussein Khalid is the executive director of Haki Africa.

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In addition, the Board announced that Haki Africa officials would be taken to court tomorrow or Tuesday next week to answer to charges of opening and operating bank accounts without obtaining the necessary authority. They face up to 18 months in jail for running the organisation without registration.

COMPLY WITHIN TWO WEEKS

The action follows a notice issued early this month to the organisations asking them to comply with the law within two weeks. According to the board, none of them complied.

The Board also accused the Agency for Peace and Development (APD) of changing its registered office bearers three months after being given licences, to evade vetting. It was also accused of lying about its area of jurisdiction.

“Despite your organisation indicating in its registration documents that it only operates within Kenya, the board has determined that the NGO largely operates in Kismayu, Lower Juba, Gedo and Afmadow in Somalia. This only serves to point out that the organisation issued false information to the government,” said the board statement.

APD is further accused of misrepresenting its annual revenue. It reportedly disclosed that it had received between Sh130,000 to Sh295,000 instead of about Sh300 million since 2011.

The bulk of the money was allegedly sent to individuals in Somalia, raising questions about what the finances were supposed to do at a time when Kenya was fighting Al-Shabaab in Somalia.

“Unless you apply afresh and meet all the legal requirements, you remain deregistered,” reads one of the letters to APD.

According to the records seen by the Nation, the Danish government, the UNDP, the US, the UK and the Norwegian governments were listed among some of the donors of the three organisations.

Last week, the Norwegian embassy said it would not stop funding Haki Africa despite a protest letter from the Kenyan Government.