Protecting the good NGOs
In most countries, nongovernmental organizations are a sign of a healthy civil society.
The recent revelations in Greece concerning the embezzlement of sizable funds by two NGOs – on involved in de-mining and the other in firefighting – show that at least some have been used as vehicles to funnel funds into the pockets of individuals and to launder kickbacks from political favors.
The investigation currently being carried out by judicial authorities into the operation and finances of the all of the country’s NGOs certainly needs to go all the way and get to the bottom of any wrongdoing. More importantly, they need to lead to strict mechanisms for monitoring independent bodies that receive state or European funding to ensure that the money is being put to its intended use.
That said, it is extremely important that these two shameful cases do not cast a shadow of suspicion over other NGOs doing important work in the country with the support of the people, who have helped them with their donations.