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Attorney General to go after public charities

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Attorney General (AG) Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda has vowed to take action against charity-focused non-governmental organisations that are not accountable in the way they use resources.

Chakaka Nyirenda was speaking in Blantyre at the Class of 2022 Clinical Legal Education Symposium.

He said the AG was an overseer of all public and charitable trusts, such that it was the office’s duty to ensure that all charity and public trusts in Malawi are accountable and that the funds they collect are properly used.

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“I, as Attorney General, represent beneficiaries of charitable and public trusts as a parens patriae, appearing on the part of the government. Any case involving charities will require my office to join as a party. I may act against trustees in disputes and take action to recover property from third parties.

“By reason of my duty as the sovereign’s representative, protecting all the persons interested in charity funds, I represent all the objects of the charity, who are thus in effect claimants through me,” Chakaka Nyirenda said.

He told the symposium that they would occasionally be seeing him taking action against some public trusts.

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“Charities should, therefore, watch out,” he said.

Council for Non-Governmental Organisations of Malawi Chairperson Kossam Munthali said “issues of accountability are non-negotiable”.

He said the NGO Act sets down procedures for dealing with accountability issues.

He noted that the NGO Board is the one mandated to make sure that charity organisations, just like any other organisations, are operating within the law and are accountable.

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