POST TIME: 14 March, 2019 12:48:03 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 14 March, 2019 11:09:14 AM
NGOs not using funds properly, says govt
Foreign aid for Rohingyas
Deepak Acharjee, Dhaka

NGOs not using funds properly, says govt

Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Law and Order, AKM Mozammel Haque, has said that they have asked the authorities concerned to monitor the activities of non-government organisations (NGOs) working among the Rohingyas at Cox’s Bazar.

“There are some NGOs working here in the name of providing support to the forcibly displaced Myanmar citizens, known as Rohingya with ulterior motives, as per intelligence reports,” he told reporters after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Law and Order yesterday.

“We are astonished that some NGOs have paid Tk. 150 crore as hotel bills and paid Tk. 8 crore as house rent,” AKM Mozammel Haque, who is also the minister for Liberation War Affairs.

“The NGOs were spending only 25 per cent of money for the Rohingyas against the total funds arranged from abroad. At least 75 per cent of the funds were spent on looking after the NGOs’ employees—this is very unfortunate,” the minister added.

Haque also said that they had asked the authorities concerned to look into the matter.

When asked, the minister failed to give the names of the NGOs working for the Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar. But he said that they asked the authorities concerned to investigate and submit a report.

But the officials of NGOs working in Cox’s Bazar have objected to AKM Mozammel Haque’s remarks.

When contacted over telephone, spokesperson of Christian Aid, Shakeb Nabi, told The Independent that their goal was to implement the programme successfully. “We are expending most of the money on implementing our programme,” he said.

“We have only three foreigners for the Rohingya programme and the rest of the 100 condition of anonymity, that they were spending every penny transparently for the Rohingyas. “Our support cost (employees) is very low. And that’s why the total funds were being spent on our programme on Rohingyas,” she added.

When contacted, additional deputy commissioner (revenue) Mohammad Ashraful Afsar told The Independent that about 150 NGOs were working for the Rohingyas. “We are keeping a watch on the activities of the NGOs,” he said.

The commissioner of Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission (RRRC), Mohammad Abul Kalam, informed this correspondent that the NGOs were successfully providing every support to the Rohingyas. “From the government side, especially some departments like law enforcement agencies, health department, family planning directorate and LGED are providing the required support to the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar,” he added.

The RRRC chief said that there were over 1000 foreigners, mostly employees of different multinational NGOs, staying in Cox’s Bazar.

District administration sources said that there were about 1,300 foreigners under a total of 113 NGOs working for the Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar.

Earlier, the authorities concerned restricted the entry of foreigners in the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar, fearing they might radicalise some Rohingya youths in the name of providing humanitarian aid. It has been alleged that a number of foreigners are visiting various Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar by  hiding their identities to radicalise Rohingya youths and spur them to commit various ‘crimes’, according to home ministry and intelligence agency sources.

At least 1,100,000 Rohingya refugees have taken shelter in Bangladesh since August 25, 2017.

Over 720,000 Rohingyas crossed over to Bangladesh in August last year, taking shelter in crowded camps in Bangladesh and bringing with them harrowing tales of rape, murder and arson in the brutal military crackdown.