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Fraud: High court halts suspension of Kapchorwa NGO

NGO Bureau ED, Stephen Okello (L) at workshop recently

NGO Bureau ED, Stephen Okello (L) at workshop recently

The High court has issued a temporary injunction restraining the National Bureau for Non-Governmental Organizations from suspending the operations of Christ Alive Glorious Ministries International (CAGMI).   

CAGMI is an NGO located in Kapchorwa district with more than 5,000 members from the Sebei region. It is licensed to carry out activities that include preaching the gospel and supporting government programmes by establishing social services like schools among others.

In June this year, the executive director of NGO Bureau, Stephen Okello said the CAGMI had been blacklisted on allegations that the firm had allegedly defrauded a donor, Hope Africa International (HAI) and diverted an unspecified amount of funds it received without their approval.

Court records show that on March 24, 2014, the NGO Bureau received a complaint from HAI alleging irregularities in the operations of CAGMI. HAI was supporting CAGMI operations, with their flagship project being the education sector in which they constructed a school, Testimony in Kapchorwa and sponsored several children in the school. 

On March 6, 2020, the NGO Bureau received another complaint from a faction of the pastors of CAGMI complaining about the illegal registration of an amended constitution of the organization. According to the records, a few months later, the executive director received a letter from Mpeirwe and Company Advocates acting on behalf of HAI, attaching complaints against CAGMI and requesting for their intervention. 

As a result, on  July 15, 2020, Okello wrote to CAGMI asking why their certificate of registration should not be cancelled since the permit of operation is expired and the Bureau had not been updated since 2015. The Bureau allegedly got a response from only four of CAGMI’s seven committee members.   

After investigations, the evidence before court reveals that among others there were irreconcilable differences with the CAGMI with two factions claiming to be in charge of the organization, operating illegally given that its permit of operation expired and the organization has not been validated to update its status and, as a member organization, there have been gross violations and disregard of the organization’s memorandum and articles and other governing documents.

On May 5, 2021, the Bureau wrote to the chief administrative officer (CAO), the chairperson district monitoring committee of Kapchorwa district local government cancelling CAGMI’s permit to operate as an NGO which forced them to petition the court.

In their application, CAGMI told court that the decision to cancel their license was reached without a fair hearing. Court also heard that if not restrained, the NGO Bureau and her agents are determined to and are in the process of executing the directive which shall harm CAGMI’s many projects within the region.  

They asked court to halt the implementation of the directive pending the determination of the case challenging the process leading to the cancellation of their certificate of registration.

In his ruling delivered to parties via email, justice Musa Ssekaana issued a temporary injunction saying that the application raises a serious issue of contention of whether the decision was done following the set procedures under the law.    

“The applicant has set out facts to show that they are likely to suffer irreparable injury if the operations of the organizations are suspended and this affects the several schools and churches which are likely to be jeopardized in their operations which are for the benefit of an entire community of innocent beneficiaries," said Ssekaana.   

Ssekaana added that the damage to the applicant’s indirect beneficiaries will be material and substantial and no amount of compensation can atone it, and that the nature of damage or injury that is likely to be suffered is not economic but also cannot be quantified. 

He allowed the application and ordered that the issue of costs will be determined in the main case. In June, four other NGO’s were suspended by the NGO Bureau on allegations of fleecing billions of shillings from unsuspecting beneficiaries. They include Comforter of the Afflicted Formation Home, Agape Sanctuary Ministries, Equal Opportunities for Women and Children, and Global Health Community Empowerment.

Comments

0 #1 MR 2021-08-03 13:05
Sometimes I wonder if these Gov't regulatory bodies like NGO Bureau d forensic audits and reviews of documents filed to other organizations like URA and the registration bureau to see if their finances and documents are in order before making decisions like suspending organizations over people's complaints?

This is how people without valid grievances tarnish others reputations
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