Government has approved proposed amendments of the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Act (Chapter 17:05), Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa has said.
The amendments seek to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism by any individual or institution in Zimbabwe operating under the Private Voluntary Organisations banner.
The amendments also seek to streamline the administrative procedures for Private Voluntary Organisations in order to ensure their efficient registration, regulation and the combating of the financing of terrorism.
In a post cabinet briefing on Tuesday, Monica Mutsvangwa said the PVO Amendment Bill was necessitated by growing regional and global concerns about money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities.
“It is now known that terrorist activities can be committed using seemingly authentic transactions, either as humanitarian aid or as development assistance. Since the current PVO Act was silent in this regard, the Bill seeks to close the loophole and ensure that all PVO activities are transparent and are conducted in the national interest,”.
“As a member of the International Financial Action Task Force, Zimbabwe is obligated to ensure compliance by all PVOs operating in the country, without exception,” she said.
Under the Bill Amendments, the Registrar of PVOs is also being accorded powers to penalize non-compliant organizations and to collect registration fees from all PVOs.
”The Bill prohibits PVOs from political involvement, and requires them to discharge their mandate for the benefit of society’s most vulnerable. PVOs are therefore prohibited from undertaking political lobbying on behalf of any individual, organisation or political party, and the Bill stipulates penalties for those PVOs that violate the Act,” Mutsvangwa added.
The Registrar can also impose civil penalty orders on PVOs which break the law, with high risk PVOs being placed under monitoring. The Executive Committee of a PVO can be suspended for either maladministration or failure to discharge the declared mandate.
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