The Financial Intelligence Authority has kicked an investigation into the activities of 13 Non-Governmental Organizations, the Nile Post has learnt.
The body is a government agency established by Parliament to monitor, investigate, and prevent money laundering in the country.
In an August 8, letter, the FIA Executive Director, Sydney Asubo has written to the Managing Director Equity Bank Limited asking to avail information about transactions made by the 13 NGOs.
“The purpose of this communication, therefore, is to request you to search your databases and avail us account opening documents, bank statements for the last three years and any other information available to you linked to each of the above-listed entities for our further review,”Asubo’s letter to Equity Bank reads in part.
Some of the NGOs affected by the investigation include Action Aid International Uganda, Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU), Alliance for Campaign Finance Monitoring, Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda, National Non-Governmental Organisation Uganda, Human Rights Network Uganda, National Democratic Institute and Grate Lakes Institute for Strategic Studies.
Others are Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Democratic Governance Facility, Kick Corruption Out of Uganda, National Association of Professional Environmentalists and African Institute for Energy Governance.
This comes at a time when government kicked off a process to register all NGOs in the country afresh.
The Internal Affairs Minister, Gen.Jeje Odongo recently told journalists that the register shows that there are 14,207 registered NGOs, adding that only 3810 of these have valid permits.
“All NGOs with either expired permits or who have never registered with the NGO Bureau, in accordance to section 31 (1) of the NGO Act 2016, are not supposed to operate in any part of the country,” Odongo said.
“Some NGOs that are ignorant of the law think that possession of a certificate of registration allows them to operate freely without any requirement to renew. Some are confidently operating on forged documents.”
Consequently, the Internal Affairs ministry sent a communication to all districts requesting for copies of the Community Based Organisations (CBO) register and NGO inventory.
“We are making a follow up on the NGO verification non-compliant districts and also engaging the Ministry of Local Government. A database for CBOs was developed and the process of updating is on-going,” he said.
The exercise that started on August 9 will run up to September 7.
In 2017, government through the central bank froze the accounts for Action Aid Uganda for several months over allegations of money laundering.
The freezing of Action Aid accounts followed a raid by police on their offices in Kampala and conducted a cordon and search operation where they accessed and searched computer accessories, mobile handsets, money transfer related documents and bank-related transaction documents, taking away some of them.
Speaking about the matter, Police said Action Aid Uganda and Great Lakes Institute of Strategic Studies (GLISS) had received funding from foreign elements to facilitate the protests in the city against the age limit bill.
“We received intelligence that these organisations had received funding to destabilise the city and some parts of the country following the intended debate in parliament on age-limit,” the then police spokesperson AIGP Asan Kasingye said in a statement.
A number of NGOs have always clashed with government over various issues.