Non-Governmental Organisations are likely to resist a controversial parliamentary probe targeting the mismanagement of tsunami funds. A Parliamentary Select Committee, chaired by JVP MP Vijitha Herath, will shortly seek comprehensive reports from NGOs regarding their finances. "We’ll be writing to them soon," Herath told The Island yesterday while expressing belief that they would co-operate fully. "I don’t expect any opposition," he said, adding, "If they haven’t done any wrong, the probe would clear them."
This comes in the backdrop a classified Central Bank report that dealt with funds received by NGOs through banks. The PSC recently obtained a copy of the report.
The LTTE front TRO is among the 30 major recipients of tsunami funds.
The 25-member PSC comprises representatives from all parties represented in Parliament. Herath replaced JVP heavyweight Nandana Gunatilake as the Chairman of the committee recently. Under Herath’s leadership the committee met last Tuesday in Parliament where retired Supreme Court Judge Raja Wanasundera discussed his controversial probe on the NGOs.
Wanasundera headed a presidential commission during Ranasinghe Premadasa’s tenure as the president. The Commission produced a 400-page report. Herath said that his committee obtained a copy.
Central Bank representatives had been present at Tuesday’s meeting. According to a Central Bank survey of all bank transactions of NGOs (local and foreign) for the year 2005, 256 NGOs had received donations and other funds amounting to Rs. 40.1 bn by way of credits to their bank accounts from various foreign and local sources during 2005.
The survey revealed that 73% of total foreign remittances were received by 30 NGOs, each receiving foreign remittances in the range of 1% to 12% of total foreign remittances.
Further, it was revealed that nearly 79% of funds received in the bank accounts of all NGOs during 2005 had been withdrawn. The 30 NGOs referred to above had withdrawn 85% of funds received in their bank accounts during the year 2005.