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36 charities' bank accounts frozen in Bahrain

Manama, November 14, 2010

Bank accounts of 36 charities have been frozen after they were found in breach of new regulations.

The Social Development Ministry took the action against those who failed to register as fully-fledged societies.

However, although some have since had the restriction lifted, it could take up to three months to resume full operations.

MP Hassan Al Dossary slammed the decision to freeze the accounts of charities, saying it was detrimental to needy people in Bahrain.

'These charities are responsible for helping the needy in Bahrain, by providing food, security, clothing and healthcare,' he said.

'This registration process has come at the wrong time and for some it could take up to three months (to correct) and at this time of year, these charities will be really hard hit.

'The ministry declared that this process would happen two years ago and now suddenly without any warning, they impose this rule and stop all money flow until charities comply.

'How can they offer support to the needy people in Bahrain when they cannot access their money and thus are unable to carry out their important work?'

Documents

Societies ordered to register are required to submit a series of official documents in English and Arabic for approval, including minutes from a founders' meeting, personal details of all members, articles of association in ministry format, the society's proof of address and a bank certificate.

Meetings have been taking place between the ministry and societies in the last week to try and help speed up the registration process.

Societies whose funds were frozen included Al Mahooz Charity Fund, Sitra Charity Fund, A'ali Charity Fund, Sanabis Charity Fund, Naim Charity Fund, Bilad Al Qadeem Charity Fund, Al Jasra Charity Fund, Budaiya Charity Fund, Karranah Charity Fund, Diraz Charity Fund and Bani Jamra Charity Fund.

'The freezing of their accounts has now been lifted for these charities, but it was worrying for them at first,' said Muqabah Charity Fund financial controller Ibrahim Hassan.

'However, the registration process is now underway.'

Expatriate charities, such as the Bahrain Irish Society and Awali Caledonian Society, have so far been unaffected.

However, meetings between them and ministry officials helped to speed up the registration process.

Social Development Ministry officials were unavailable for comment.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | law | NGO | bank accounts | charity organisations |

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