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  • Hubert Marlin

Why global aid through US agencies never manages disaster


The situation is worrying to the point that the victims of the new disaster that struck Haiti asked the good people not to give monies destined to their relief to the American Red Cross. In reality except in cases of embezzlement which are legion in the non-governmental organization sector since in the world around 90 percent of these NGOs including the most prestigious as a doctor without borders or the American Red Cross have been taken in the mesh of the net while investigations proved their bad governance. The few cases that successfully make the headlines are only the visible face of a gigantic iceberg, as there is a wall of silence within these organizations, the majority of cases of corruption and misappropriation of funds never cross the public eye, and never see the forecourt of tribunals, because NGOs fear that the bad publicity around the management of funds allocated to them will tarnish their image, and causes the reluctance of future donors. Apart practices such as billing and fictitious purchase of good and services, payment of ghost employees, or fictitious beneficiaries, project management and contracts delivery, a more serious oil spill pollutes the white beaches of those who are in need engulfing eagerly funds donated by the faint hearted.

The funds managed by these NGOs are not less astronomical. As a NGO like World Vision International, in 2013, reported a total worldwide income of $ 2.67 billion, a figure equal to Burundi's economy, exceeding the GDP of twenty-nine other nation states. NGOs are a very big deal making staggering profits. They are downright multinationals enjoying a special status in taxation, because in general they do not pay taxes. While it is undeniable that NGOs have managed to supplant the government in some essential sectors it is equally important to note that they are the cash cow of a shameless profiteering caste who feed itself through the misery of others.

If naively, ordinary people always give these organizations a blank check, because according to the popular imagination they are there to help, the reality is much murkier. Enormous revenues collected never always mean huge help in the aftermath of disaster for the needy.

In the US in general, more than 80 percent of the money paid to NGOs goes into NGO’s operating budget. The remuneration of executives and agents who are paid on the standard of multinationals managers, rental or construction of high standard buildings housing their headquarters, added to the corruption that is legion in both the North and South the hemisphere leaves very little to the needy who generally only receive 10% of the funds previously donated by benefactors. This catastrophic situation never sees alas headlines because often it’s not easy to say how much has been given, and it is even more difficult to say how much was spent and how. 64 000 pounds diverted by Edward McKenzie-Green in Haiti while he was himself investigating the embezzlement of the British NGO Oxfam after the earthquake, is only a drop in a sea full of sharks. If in Haiti some complained that NGOs which were supposed to redistribute relief to the populations struck by disaster, as the Clinton Foundation, have done little or nothing, one should know that disasters mean opportunity for those NGOs which still defend the fact that it is necessary for them to help themselves to provide the means to help the less fortunate. In such a situation it is not surprising that some spirits good or malicious believe that, the last typhoon is expected to generate significant funds at a time when some needs money to give a final boost to their campaign.

Since its founding in 1945, the United Nations have always pleaded for NGOs development Today, only 2,613 NGOs are registered with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, while 1,407 NGOs are accredited to the Information Secretariat of the United Nations. The Union of International Associations in Brussels for its part has a more watchful eye on 58,000 non-profit international organizations. Under the sponsorship of these international organizations would be expected that there is a kind of control in the internal management of the NGOs, but actually they are accountable to no one, they are havens of lawlessness under the smoke screen of benevolence. No wonder the very wealthy in Hollywood use them occasionally for money laundering and tax evasion.

By Hubert Marlin Jr. Elingui

journalist Writer


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