NGO activities in the Sughd region, in northern Tajikistan, are subject to verification by law enforcement and fiscal authorities. NGO leaders believe that such close attention of the authorities is associated with recent events in neighboring Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
“During the day, our organization was subjected to scrutiny by the prosecutor’s office,” says an employee of an existing NGO, the administrative center of the Sughd region of Khujand, who wished to remain anonymous, “first of all we were forced to provide them with documents regarding sources of funds, and for what purpose they were spent. "
Galina Lebedenko, the head of the Club-Contact NGO, in an interview with Oasis magazine, complained that the prosecutor's office of the city of Chkalovsk practically did not let her work for two weeks. “The prosecutor’s office, in the form of general supervision, called me to a conversation four times. Checked the compliance of activities with statutory goals and objectives. Then we were checked by the notary office and the State Property Committee. ”
The Saodat NGO, which is one of the most active women's organizations in the region and whose activities are aimed at reducing poverty among rural women, was also subjected to close scrutiny by a special group, despite the fact that this organization was inspected several months ago. “Five people came to us: two from the prosecutor’s office, two from the justice department and one from the tax inspectorate. I told them that we have already passed all these checks and we are ready to show them the relevant acts. But one of them said that such an increased interest was not only in our organization, but in all NGOs in the region, ”said Saodat Sultonova, head of the Saodat NGO.
The prosecutor’s office, the justice department and tax departments of the Sughd region created a joint ad hoc working group to study the activities of public associations. In the prescription of the regional prosecutor, Abdugaffor Kalandarov, addressed to the tax administration of the region, the lack of transparency in the activities of NGOs and control of financial operations contributed to inappropriate expenditures of donated financial assistance from international organizations. The regional prosecutor's office also reported that they had identified a number of irregularities in the activities of some NGOs. According to their data, the leaders of the public association “Sanno” of the city of Khujand, at the expense of the Japanese embassy in Tajikistan, organized, in cooperation with one of the construction companies, the repair of a secondary school in the Ganchy district. The prosecutor's office revealed that the leaders of these organizations made fake documents and appropriated more than 7.5 thousand American dollars from the total amount of assistance.
Representatives of NGOs in the north of Tajikistan, for the most part, are still confident that the recent actions of the authorities are primarily related to the events in neighboring Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is at a time when some media and government officials accuse public associations of these countries in organizing the well-known tragic events in these states.
“And if this is not so, why hasn’t the local government of Sogdánnnnnnnn Why such checks do not pass, neither in the capital, nor in other regions of our republic? And Sogd oblast, as is known, is bordered by both Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Apparently, the leadership of our region is afraid of a repetition of similar events in our country. So they are trying in every possible way to “tighten the screws on us,” says a representative of an NGO in the city of Khujand, who wished to remain unnamed.
“Apparently, some officials in the face of members of non-governmental organizations see some danger. Unfortunately, we are compared with non-governmental organizations of Ukraine and Georgia, ”notes Abdusamad Sultonov, head of the NGO Youth and Civilization.
But in the regional prosecutor's office they categorically deny this fact. They believe that the latest inspections have nothing to do with the desire to impair the rights of public organizations, or somehow restrict their activities. Inspections, they said, are carried out on the basis of the work plan of law enforcement agencies in order to establish how far NGOs operate in accordance with the Constitution of Tajikistan, the current legislation of the country and the charters of these organizations.
Independent lawyer Umed Soliev explained that “the justice department, as a body registering public organizations, according to the legislation, has the right to exercise control over the activities of these organizations. In addition, NGOs must report monthly to the tax authority. The public prosecutor’s office, by way of general supervision, also has the right to exercise control. ”
But, according to Fatima Kutbiddinova, who has worked for 35 years in the prosecution authorities, the law on the prosecutor’s office does not contain a clause allowing to check the activities of NGOs. But as a general supervision, the prosecutor's office has the right to verify the legality of the activity, but not the financial aspect of the activities of non-governmental organizations.
In a popular report of the regional prosecutor's office for July, it is reported that out of more than 500 public associations operating in the north of Tajikistan, only 10% are registered with the tax inspectorate of Sughd region. In addition, out of more than 1,500 non-governmental organizations, only 52 organizations are registered with the tax inspectorate.
“There are violations of the law of Tajikistan“ On Public Associations ”, annual reports are often untimely submitted or not submitted to the judicial authorities, their leadership is trying in every way to avoid taxation,” said Karimboy Karimov, a spokesman for the regional prosecutor’s office.
Most representatives of NGOs and public associations of Sughd region do not exclude the likelihood that the authorities may somehow limit the field of activity of these organizations. Therefore, at present, representatives of NGOs are looking for new ways for dialogue with the authorities. As a first step, a strategy is developed for the participation of NGOs and public organizations of the region in the implementation of the Social Order program, where the authorities ask NGOs for support in solving social problems.