Friday, October 23, 2020

Zimbabwe: Amnesty International Suspends Zimbabwe Branch Over Fraud, Serious Financial Mismanagement Claims

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Amnesty International has suspended its branch in Zimbabwe over massive fraud and serious mismanagement.

In a statement, Amnesty International said, “The International Board of Amnesty International has taken the unprecedented step of suspending Amnesty International Zimbabwe (AIZ) from the global movement and placing it under administration following evidence of fraud and serious financial misconduct.

“An extensive forensic audit was conducted in late 2018 which uncovered evidence of fraud and serious financial mismanagement by individuals in AIZ. National law enforcement agencies were notified of the findings earlier this year and the organization also commenced the legal process of civil recovery in order to recoup lost funds.”

Amnesty International’s International Board assured the public that since the allegations first came to light, urgent financial risk management measures have been put in place to ensure anti-fraud and corruption procedures are adhered to and that donor funds are safe.

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“… The decision has been made to take extraordinary measures on AIZ to protect the reputation, integrity and operation of the movement. It is with regret that it is now clear that AIZ has not been able to take the necessary steps in its duty of good governance.

“Amnesty International is committed to working hand in glove with the appropriate authorities and is providing full assistance to all current investigations to ensure that any individual found to have been involved in misconduct is held to account.”

Amnesty International Southern Africa’s media manager, Robert Shivambu, declined to comment further saying investigations are in progress.

However, the former director of AIZ, Cousin Zilala, claims that he was forced to step down by top officials who later conducted a forensic audit without having his input.

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“They forced me to leave and started conducting a forensic audit without my input and some of my colleagues Takesure Musiyiwa and Sibongile Zimbeva who were also told to step down. We were cleared of any wrongdoing by the police and now we are demanding $3 million from Amnesty International for defamation.”

There was no immediate police comment.

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