KARACHI: Like other sectors of the society including media, judiciary and law enforcement agencies, the NGO sector of Sindh can be taken as one of the most corrupt sectors, said the head of a Karachi-based NGO working on environmental issues, on condition of anonymity.
He said that in the NGO sector, besides financial corruption, there are many other forms of "dishonesty" including favouritism in terms of jobs within the organisation, distribution of funds and other items from the official platform, and opportunities for training during any projects or even the selection of the subject to work on, is a major issue that is faced by the NGOs.
Similarly, an NGO based in Karachi, working on women rights, election process and advocacy, although owns a huge office in a posh locality of the city; yet submits a certain amount in terms of office rent in every project they apply for.
"Our CEO personally owns this office, and invested a huge amount in the purchasing; however, in every project an amount is claimed as office rent from the donor. There is provision for rent, so why shouldn't we include it in the project," said a lady manager of one of the project that NGO is running on women rights. "I don't find anything wrong in this."
Besides, it is a common practice to save money from the events NGOs organise. For eg, if there is a seminar having a budget of Rs 50,000, the actual expenditure spent is much less in real, and they are being accommodated through fake bill receipts.
According to well-informed sources, a Karachi-based non-profit organisation's head has made four international trips to different countries, which were meant for "community" representatives, but every time he managed to get his name registered to represent "his" community - another form of corruption.
Moreover, different people attached with NGOs told Daily Times about a rather old form of making money: whenever there's any vacancy in any NGO, it is being advertised in the newspapers, but the people hired on the positions are already decided.
"Not this alone, they also take huge amounts from salaries of the staff. I was working in an NGO, where I signed salary slips mentioning more than the amount I received. The amount stated above was taken by the NGO, whereas the slips were there to show to the donors," said a former employee of an NGO working on provincial level.
Likewise, district Badin based non-profit organisation was given a project by an international organisation to construct 150 environment-friendly homes for the 2012 rain victims. For this purpose the NGO was given vehicles, salaries for the staff, office rent, daily allowances and other facilities. Yet, it built only 100 houses to show to the donors, and the money against the construction of the remaining 50 houses was withheld.
"Even those 100 constructed houses were given to close relatives of the NGO's head and other blue eyed individuals," said a former official of the same project.
After the leaked information about corruption in NGO sector, donors made some strict rules including audit, monitoring and involvement of media on the ground to keep check and balance on the work being done.
"After these checks by the donors, many NGOs hired former journalists as full-time employees to write stories in different languages and publish them in newspapers such that the NGO can have a proof of their workings and projects," added the NGO worker.
Most of these NGO workers or even officials are so afraid when asked about the corruption in the sector; no one was ready to talk on record.
They were of the view that more money can be minted through purchase of vehicles and transport; therefore, NGOs have purchased their own vehicles and charge huge amounts in the name of transport on daily basis from the donors.
Also, many NGOs have made their own consortium, and they all support each other by highlighting each other's "good work" and even provide their own employees to others to show them as "community members" whenever needed.