Action Aid Uganda has turned to the International community to negotiate with Government to unfreeze its bank accounts.
On October 5, Bank of Uganda froze all bank accounts belonging to Action Aid Uganda, a Non-Governmental Organisation following police investigations into allegations of conspiracy to commit a felony and money laundering.
Action Aid Uganda holds a Uganda Shillings account, US dollar, Pound Sterling and two Euro accounts in Standard Chartered Bank. Action aid is a global movement of people working to further human rights and defeat poverty for all.
Action Aid Uganda says the freezing of its accounts has affected its operations. Arthur Larok, the Executive director Action Aid Uganda, says they have resorted to the International community to negotiate with Government to unfreeze their accounts.
He says the International office of Action Aid, Donors and some Diplomats will help in resolving the crisis, which is a direct breech of rights of Ugandans.
He says they have written to all authorities in Government like the Uganda Revenue Authority, Bank of Uganda, Financial Integrity Authority, National Social Security Fund, Standard Chartered Bank, the Uganda Police and Uganda to explain their stand.
He says Action aid will also engage with the millions of beneficiaries in Uganda to alert them of what is happening and seek their help. Larok says as a human rights and development based organization, all that they were doing is within their mandate.
He says that they will also seek legal redress to ensure justice in regards to the people suffering as a result of the closure of their offices, adding that they will continue with their work despite the distraction.
Henry Nixon Ogwal the Director Fundraising at Action Aid Uganda, says some projects like the sponsor of orphans and vulnerable children, Gender Based Violence Centers, support to farmers and schools among other things have been affected.
He says there has been a misinterpretation of what Action Aid is doing, yet Action Aid is fulfilling its mandate of human rights and development.
“We have heard campaigns of no vote buying, pay your taxes, and stop corruption and these campaigns are political. Stopping this and freezing our funds is uncalled for. Action aid for instance is part of the coalitions of civil societies against the lifting of the age limit” Ogwal said.
Action Aid has been at the center of several campaigns such as the black Monday movement, where the organization calls upon citizens to demonstrate against corruption, provision of alternative views on taxation, constitutional amendments, and issues of rights and democracy.
On September 19th, police raided ActionAid Uganda offices in Kampala, where they conducted a cordon and search operation. A similar operation was conducted on Great Lakes Initiative for Strategic Studies (GLISS). The police raids came at the height of protests against plans by the ruling NRM party to repeal Article 102(b) of the constitution that put a cap of 75 years on the presidential age.
A private members bill pushing for the removal of age limits is now before the Legal Affairs committee of parliament for scrutiny. President Museveni, who stands to directly benefit from the proposed amendment, told a party caucus meeting last week that he is fully in support of the bill.