The National Bureau for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO Bureau) has cancelled the operating license of Bryan White Foundation, an organization belonging to Kampala city socialite Bryan Kirumira.
Speaking to reporters at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala today, Patrick Onen Ezaga, the senior communication officer of the NGO Bureau said that they had received a letter from the vice-chairperson of parliament’s human rights committee complaining about Bryan White’s action, prompting the bureau to investigate the organization which was registered in January 2019.
Bryan White had been accused by several girls of sexual harassment after he promised to offer them jobs. Some of the girls alleged that they had spent months at Bryan White’s home being used as sex slaves.
The investigations found that whereas Bryan White Foundation was supposed to be a company limited by guarantee with a board of directors and other members who would meet annually for a general meeting, Bryan White was solely running the organization. Even the functions that it was licensed to perform like looking after orphans, widows and supporting youths to be self-reliant were never undertaken.
The organization also has no known physical address as the address it had indicated in its registration documents was only found to have a banner hanging in front of an unfinished building. The Foundation also didn’t have any significant transaction on its bank account save for a one-off case where Bryan White deposited and later withdrew Shs 10 million.
After these discoveries that the NGO Bureau tasked Kirumira to file an explanation about the operations of his organization. However, the July 22 letter went unanswered hence prompting them to revoke the permit of Bryan White Foundation and also cancel its certificate of registration.
Kirumira has been in and out of hospital with some accusing him of feigning sickness to circumuvent legal proceedings brought against them.
“It is clear from the foregoing that Bryan White Foundation is a one-man show organisation and a sham registered with a possible hidden motive rather than the state objectives at registration. Based on these findings NGO Bureau has taken the decision to one; revoke the permit of operation of Bryan White Foundation and secondly to cancel the certificate of registration of Bryan White Foundation,” said Ezaga.
“Therefore the existence of Bryan White Foundation as an organisation recognised by the NGO Bureau ceases with immediate effect. The other concerns raised against Mr Bryan Kirumira as an individual will be handled by appropriate organs since there is a distinction between alleged actions of Mr Kirumira Bryan as an individual and the illegally registered foundation,” added Ezaga.
Meanwhile, the NGO Bureau has also indefinitely suspended the operation of another International NGO known as GiveDirectly, for failure to explain the source of its funding.
GiveDirectly is a nonprofit that lets donors send money directly to households in developing countries via mobile linked platforms. As reported earlier, the organisation which targets extremely low-income households is currently active in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Liberia, Malawi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Morocco.
Recently, a total of 120,000 families in Uganda whose livelihoods have been negatively affected by coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic were listed to benefit from $10 million (about Shs 36 billion) direct cash transfers, to help them overcome the effects. (See: Lira’s vulnerable receive Shs 100,000 each COVID funds)
According to the Bureau, investigations revealed that GiveDirectly was giving people money, which is likely to make them lazy, promote idleness, domestic violence, dependency syndrome and tension within neighbouring villages.
Michael Kayemba, the GiveDirectly country director previously said the innovative direct cash giveaway project was targeting vulnerable Ugandans across the six newly created cities of Mbale, Moroto, Lira, Gulu, Kabale and Mbarara over the next three months, with a possibility of rolling out the programme to other cities later.
The initial roll-out direct cash transfers took place in Lira city on August 6, where about 10,000 beneficiaries from three parishes including Kakoge received Shs 100,000 each, injecting $750,000 (about Shs 2.7 billion) into the local economy.
“Before COVID-19, many families were already facing difficult conditions. The pandemic is exposing these existing vulnerabilities and making them worse,” said Kayemba.
Local leaders in Gulu said the cash injection would stimulate local economic activities since many residents were struggling to fend for their livelihoods.
According to the design of the project, beneficiaries do not need to register themselves to be eligible for the programme but are identified through the socio-economic data of the telecommunication companies targeting the poorest areas in each city to ensure fairness and equity.
The would-be beneficiaries are then contacted and asked for their consent through SMS messages, automated calls or call centre agents. Founded in 2009, GiveDirectly ranked a top international charity organization having already delivered over $260 million in cash directly into the hands of over 270,000 households living in poverty across the world.
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