NGO Board blocked from shutting down AfriCOG

AfriCOG yesterday earned reprieve when the High Court temporarily stopped the NGO Coordination Board from interfering with its operations.

Justice Chacha Mwita ruled that the board should not shut down the organisation, pending hearing and determination of the suit.

The judge further suspended a directive of the NGO Board executive director Fazul Mahamed and the Central Bank of Kenya from freezing all bank accounts operated by the lobby.

Mwita issued the orders following an application by AfriCOG and its directors, who sued the board, acting Interior CS Fred Matiang’i, the CBK Governor, the DPP and DCI.

The lobby has 21 days to file more documents and serve the respondents with the papers.

AfriCOG’s executive director Gladwell Otieno, Maina Kiai, who is also the director of the Kenya Human Rights Commission, John Githongo, Stella Chege, Donald Deya and Charles Wanguhu had told court they are apprehensive of being arrested and charged over malicious claims.

They said Fazul did not follow due process before ordering them to shut down.

In a letter dated August 15, Fazul said AfriCOG has flouted the law by evading tax to the tune of millions. AfriCOG terms the move illegal.

In the same letter, the NGO Board boss directed CBK to freeze the organisation’s accounts.

But AfriCog says the move was unprocedural, illegal and ultra vires.

In the suit, AfriCOG wants several orders issued, among them one that will stop the police and the DPP from arresting and charging them.

They are also seeking to permanently stop the Central Bank Governor from freezing their accounts and funds held in various banks based on claims made by Fazul.

Also sought is an order stopping the winding up of the lobby, saying they have diligently and religiously complied with all statutory and regulatory obligations without any complaint for the last 10 years.

They said the raid at their offices Wednesday morning was illegal and mischievously places in jeopardy critical operations

“AfriCOG is a registered company and has complied with all statutory obligations,” they said.

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