NGOs illegally received LE3 billion, says source

Civil society organizations in Egypt received LE600 million last year in legal funding and LE3 billion in illegal funding, said Mohamed Demerdash, the legal advisor to the Ministry of Insurance and Social Affairs, state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper’s website reported.

During the People's Assembly’s Religious Committee meeting on Monday, Demerdash  said that during their seven years of operation, the five NGOs currently being investigated received US$35 million, while they received US$175 million in 2011 following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.

He said that no action has been taken against the Ansar al-Sunnah Salafi organization as it had fulfilled all of the required procedures and statements concerning its funding. He added that the main problem was with the NGOs’ funding.

Demerdash denied that the American NGOs operating in Egypt had received approval to obtain funding following the NGO investigations. He added that 4,500 NGOs had received licenses following the revolution after the State Security Investigations Service (SSIS) was disbanded.

He said the new NGO law will require approval for foreign but not for Egyptian NGOs.

Al-Ahram reported that Demerdash said the training programs that were provided by the International Republican Institute in Egypt excluded members of the Freedom and Justice Party and any religious parties, as well as women wearing the hijab.

He added that such blatant interference in Egypt’s affairs must be controlled. He said the final version of the draft law on NGOs would be ready within the coming week and that 20 draft laws had been submitted by a number of parties, in addition to 200 draft law proposals.

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