Fingered CSOs Deny Abusing USAID Funds

The Elections Resource Centre and two other organisations who made headlines early this week following reports of misusing USAID funds have denied the accusations saying they are shocked by the termination of agreements without affording an opportunity to be heard.

In separate statements released yesterday, ERC, Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) and Counselling Services Unit (CSU) insisted that they have consistently produced audited reports and never diverted allocated money for other use besides the proposed purpose.

“Although cooperative agreements with our partners remain a matter between them and us, in the interest of transparency and public accountability, we place it on record that during the duration of all our agreements with development partners since 2010, consistent annual financial audits commissioned by the partners and carried out by internationally recognized auditors in terms of our internal policies and agreements with partners have been conducted.

“In addition, monthly and quarterly financial reviews by the partners themselves have also been conducted and none of these have ever raised any compliance issues or, as now suggested in some quarters, financial improprieties,” noted ERC.

ZimRights said the termination of USAID funding had affected their programming adding that their request to be furnished with reasons have not been responded to.

“The termination of USAID funding before investigations are complete and without furnishing specific reasons has come as a shock to the organisation’s board, staff, members across Zimbabwe and the general public who have been beneficiaries of the organisation’s programs.

“Requests by the ZimRights board to be furnished reasons which would be necessary to respond to the allegations that have now been thrown into the public domain have not been responded to,

“ZimRights avows that at no time in its six-year relationship with USAID have funds been abused or misappropriated. all funds have been dedicated to promoting, defending and protecting human rights in the country,” said ZimRights.

CSU denied misappropriating USAID funds arguing all the money received were committed to the cause of survivors of torture.

“At no time have funds been misappropriated, diverted or put to misuse by CSU, all funds are entirely committed to promoting the treatment, rehabilitation, safety and re-integration back into communities for survivors of torture,” said CSU.

Meanwhile, in its statement early this week, USAID insisted that an investigation into the reports of misappropriation of funds was done before the termination of agreements.

“When USAID learned of the situation, an investigation was immediately launched and several issues were brought to light. Those issues have been dealt with accordingly,” noted USAID.


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