Cabinet yesterday received and approved the proposed amendments to the Private Voluntary Organisations Act (Chapter 17:05) which were presented by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Ziyambi Ziyambi.
The amendments seek to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism by any individual or institution in Zimbabwe operating under the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs) banner.
The amendments also seek to streamline the administrative procedures for PVOs to ensure their efficient registration, regulation and the combating of the financing of terrorism.
The Registrar of PVOs is also being accorded powers to penalise non-compliant organisations.
“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,” said Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting.
“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. Whereas registration has all along been free, the Registrar is now empowered 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,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
PVOs were therefore prohibited from undertaking political lobbying on behalf of any individual, organisation or political party.
The Bill stipulates penalties for those PVOs that violate the Act while 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.”