”Malicious’ fraud reports meant to tarnish the credibility of named NGOs’

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Lewis Mwape

A source from within the British Council has revealed that the reported fraud by some named NGOs in the country is meant to tarnish the credibility of the institutions seen to be in support of the government.

Recently, police confirmed receiving a formal report on the embezzlement of donor funds by some NGOs in the country, namely SACCORD, YALI and FODEP. In a short statement to the media, police spokesperson Esther Mwaata-Katongo explained that the British Council had reported some suspected fraud by one of the UKAid funded projects in the country.

“I wish to confirm that the Zambia Police has finally received a formal report from the British Council on the suspected fraud by one of the UKAid funded projects which is the Zambia Accountability Project (ZAP).

“The report was made on the 09th November, 2017 to the Zambia Police Anti-Fraud Unit. The fraud is said to have occurred between 01st January, 2016 and 01st September, 2017. The revelation follows an internal investigation carried out by the British Council. The Zambia Police has since opened an inquiry file in the matter,” she said.

The confirmation by police has sparked calls for the immediate arrest of the people at the helm of these organisations.

But the source, who declined to be named, said the said organisations were accused of getting unaccounted for money so as to promote electoral malpractice and ensure that the PF retain power in the 2016 elections.

He explained that the information making rounds on social media has not been interrogated to get the facts as most of it is hearsay as opposed real issues and facts.

Upon investigations this reporter uncovered a letter written to the British Commissioner by ZCSD Executive Director Lewis Mwape accusing the British Government of funding some organisations to change the leadership in some NGOs so that the new leaders can support the PF to win the 2016 elections.

In the letter, Mwape also accuses the British Council of trying to undermine the operations of some CSOs in the country.

“The action by ZAP, a British Council is an affront and an attack on the Civil Society Enabling Environment in Zambia and if left unchecked, donors in the country will be ‘engineering’ Civil Society leadership change in Zambia and will be used by ruling political parties to eliminate critical voices that provide checks and balances to the powers that be through unofficial funding conditionalities,” reads the letter in part.

“We are disappointed at the turn of events that British Institutions have been attempting to undermine the existence and vibrancy of the CSOs in Zambia. In 2010, the UK Charity Organisation almost supported government to operationalise the disputed NGO Act number 16 of 2009. This was stopped by Zambian Civil Society organisations who, through Zambia Council for Social Development (ZCSD) as secretariat for NGO Insaka, successfully petitioned your office.”

The genesis of the reports of fraud is tied to the firing of former FODEP Executive Director McDonald Chipenzi a known UPND member who was fired by FODEP for practicing partisan politics.

But Mwape disputes this narrative by accusing the British Council of unfairly targeting Chipenzi because he would not have been compromised.

“In this regard, we are wondering what the purpose and efficacy of funding being given to EISA (a non-Zambian organisation) is; whether it is to promote democratic elections in Zambia or the funding is to support electoral malpractice meant to disadvantage the opposition political parties, hence the fear to have Mr. MacDonald Chipenzi, alleged to be a member of an opposition political party, at the helm of FODEP; and would have not allowed this evil agenda succeed.

“Civil Society in Zambia collaborated with British Council in shaping the Zambia Accountability Project’s (ZAP) direction at inception. We are even more dismayed by the fact that only a few Zambian civil Society organisations have directly benefited from these funds. The indirect support to FODEP has unfortunately been abused by ZAP’s indirect interference in FODEP management.

“This, for us, is unacceptable, especially coming from an organisation promoting good governance and the liberties and freedoms of the citizens. If truly there was evidence of partisan affiliation, the affected individual could have been engaged without directing other parties to terminate a Director’s contract as condition to release funding to EISA and later to FODEP,” the letter further reads.

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One Response to ”Malicious’ fraud reports meant to tarnish the credibility of named NGOs’

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