TIB finds graft practice in NGO monitoring  

33

Dhaka, August 02: Foreign funded NGOs in the country managed have to increase their internal good governance but corruptions of a section of NGO monitoring officials and flaws in laws are creating challenges for the sector, said Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB).Placing a report on this at a press briefing in the city on Thursday TIB also identified weak governance and interference of local influential people as other key challenges the sector now facing.

Four researchers of the corruption surveillance body took into account the activities 48 NGOs (6.4 percent) out of 2,625 registered NGOs of the country. The composition of the NGOs covered included nine international NGOs, 24 national NGOs (operating on a national scale), and 15 local NGOs.

They collected the sampled NGOs’ documents of the period of 2014 to 2016 from NGO Affairs Bureau and investigated their internal and institutional good governance.

While presenting the study, ASM Juel Miah, one of the researchers, said, “This is a follow-up research of 2007 and we found significant positive changes in the sector but they are not corruption free yet.”

They found lack of monitoring and transparency in evaluation of employees’ skills in 13 NGOs, absence of employees’ skill development activities in 23 NGOs, employing people without publishing any job circular in 10 NGOs, not having websites of 12 NGOs and also found not having proper buying-committee of nine NGOs.

In the study, they also found that some heads of NGOs used to influence in the major decision making, employment and financial affairs unethically.

In some NGOs, they found, serious allegation of fund embezzlement too.

Besides, from the viewpoint of accountability, they found, at least 23 NGOs did not have proper project reviewing unit and 25 NGOs did not have the complaint and resolving unit of their own.

Apart from the challenges of NGOs, the study found some snags in the NGO-related authorities’ activities such as unethical financial exchange, taking facilities in the name of audit by the monitoring officials and their taking residential and transportation facilities in their family pleasure trip from some of the local NGOs.

Nihar Ranjan Roy, another researcher of the team, while discussing about their recommendations, said though the NGO sector is the lowest corrupted sector of the country, it still has paths to increase its accountabilities and quality of services.

He said to increase the credibility of the sector, strong project pre-review and post-review have to be ensured along with confirming democracy in decision making and transparency in employment and expenditure.

Nihar also said the necessary reform of existing Foreign Donations (Voluntary Activities) Regulation Law 2016 is needed as well as the NGO Affairs Bureau should release foreign funding and permit the projects through digital way.

TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman said “In Bangladesh different range of corruption prevails in every sector and working in the society NGOs also get corrupted which we have found in the study.”

He alleged that some monitoring authorities turned into ‘controlling authority’ and used to take unethical facilities and money from the NGOs.

Dr Zaman stressed to ensure proper law implementation and strong accountability in this sector.