Bill requiring NGOs to use banking channels

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the herald

Zvamaida Murwira

Senior Reporter

Additional amendments to the Private Voluntary Organizations (PVO) Amendment Bill are pending, criminalizing the funding of political parties and candidates by civil society organizations and providing for civil penalties for receiving or money transfer outside banking platforms.

This follows a series of meetings between the government and civil society organizations to find common ground on the bill.

There will also be an annual all-stakeholder meeting for non-governmental organizations and government to discuss issues of common interest.

The amendments are now before Parliament and the Minister of Civil Service, Labor and Social Welfare, Professor Paul Mavima, will soon table them in the National Assembly and propose them as amendments at the stage of the committee, which examines the bill article by article and is the moment of new clauses. can be added.

Regarding political activism, the bill in its current form contains a provision that would allow a PVO to be deregistered if they engage in political activities, but did not specify what this meant neither provided for criminal penalties for violations.

Proposed Clause 9B now reads: “Any private voluntary organization which supports or opposes a political party or a candidate for a presidential, parliamentary or local election, or is party to a violation of Part III of the parties Political (Finance) To act as a contributor of funds to a political party or candidate or otherwise, shall be guilty of an offense and liable to a fine of twelve degrees or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or this fine or imprisonment.

The clause clarifies that this does not apply to a PBO which assists members of disadvantaged groups to become candidates for election to Parliament or any local authority, provided that such assistance is given in a strictly non-partisan manner.

The proposed new Term 11 provides additional changes that allow for civil penalties for the movement of money outside of banking channels by civil society organizations.

It reads as follows: “A registered private voluntary organization is guilty of civil wrong if there is substantiated information available to the Registrar indicating that it has not used the formal channels (i.e. i.e. registered banking institutions or other regulated financial intermediaries in Zimbabwe or any other State) for the transmission of its funds at every point from source to destination. »

Other amendments include the insertion of a new clause obliging the Registrar of PVOs to convene annual forums bringing together all stakeholders to discuss matters of common interest.

There will also be a clause requiring anyone applying for PVO registration to provide the Registrar with details of any beneficial owners and persons who control the organization to ensure transparency.

Section 8 obliges the Minister, at least once every five years and with the cooperation of the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Reserve Bank, to assess the vulnerability of PVOs and other similar organizations to be used for the financing of terrorism and money laundering.

This is now common in many areas of life in many jurisdictions as money movements need to be tightened.

The bill allows authorities to enter into agreements with the government of any other country or provide reciprocal assistance in a number of areas such as registration of PVOs, exchange of information on PVOs, among others Questions.

In particular, agreements will allow the Registrar of PVOs or the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Reserve Bank to seek beneficial ownership details or other information regarding any company from the foreign counterpart, and in return provide beneficial ownership details or other information regarding any company to the foreign authority.

The initial bill was published in November last year and aims to streamline the operations of NGOs and civil society organizations so that they stick to their core mandate.

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