State launches crackdown on unlicensed NGOs operating in counties

NGO board executive director Fazul Mahamed

The State is planning a crackdown on non-governmental organisations operating in the country illegally.

In a letter seen by The Standard, Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho has written to all the 47 county commissioners directing them to shut down NGOs that are not properly licensed or are implementing projects that they have not been registered to undertake.

The directive also requires all foreign employees working for NGOs in the country to produce on demand a valid work permit issued by the Directorate of Immigration Services.

They must also have a recommendation letter from the NGO Coordination Board.

The letter is dated January 6 and its implementation is expected to begin in earnest, in what seems to be heightening Government focus on NGOs ahead of the August 8 General Election.

This comes a few weeks after the Government suspended a Sh2 billion programme by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), an American NGO involved in civic education and electoral expertise assistance.

NGO board executive director Fazul Mahamed accused IFES of operating without requisite authorisation and having foreign workers without proper work permits.

"All NGOs that fail to meet these requirements shall not be allowed to operate within your county. Note that you shall be responsible for implementing the contents of this circular with immediate effect," reads Dr Kibicho's circular to the commissioners.

It adds: "We have noted with concern that a number of NGOs are operating and implementing projects at the counties without proper legal status and requisite approval from the regulator to engage in such activities."

The circular by the PS claims some NGOs are also involved in heinous activities that pose a serious threat to national security including money laundering, diversion of donor aid, and terrorism financing in the counties.

NGOs that will survive the expected purge will only be allowed to implement projects which they are registered to undertake by the regulator.

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