“Anomalies” checker Sudan’s zakat fundJune 24, 2012
Sudan, one of six countries in the world with a mandatory, government-run zakat collection and distribution program, has accused its zakat chief of “administrative anomalies” regarding fund distribution.
The Koran 9:60 requires that the zakat tax be spent on eight groups: 1) the poor, 2) those in temporary distress, 3) the tax collectors themselves, 4) new converts to Islam as an incentive for conversion, 5) captives for their ransom, 6) debtors, 7) the mujahideen, and 8) wayfarers.
The Sudan Tribune is careful in its reporting to refer to the poor as the only eligible group, as is often the case when English speaking Muslims describe zakat in media that may be monitored by Western analysts. But Sudanese lawmakers understand that Islam calls for a broader distribution of funds.
The zakat chief herself is probably well aware of group #3 above, and may have felt entitled to shave a little off the top. The best case scenario is that this is just be another example of the miserable state of corruption, theft, ineffectiveness, extreme overhead, and incompetence of zakat administration throughout the Islamic world.
The more disconcerting possibility is that some of the unaccounted for funds may have been diverted to group #7 in accordance with the Koran. But without the proper disclosures, we’ll never really know.
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Sudan: Lawmakers Grill Sudanese Minister Over Zakat Authority>Khartoum — Sudan’s minister of social welfare, Amira Al-Fadil, faced volleys of criticism on Wednesday from members of the national parliament who accused her ministry-run Zakat Authority of administrative anomalies.Al-Fadil appeared in the parliament to answer questions regarding a report she previously presented on the operations of the Zakat authority which is run by the ministry of social welfare.
The head of the parliament’s external relations committee Mohammed Al-Hassan Al-Amin said that the director of the Zakat Authority has been receiving instructions to disburse funds to certain quarters instead of giving it directly to the poor as the authority’s mandate stipulates.
“We want the money to go directly to the poor without passing through intermediaries” he told the minister.
Another MP, Aisha Al-Ghabshawi, also criticized the Zakat Authority, accusing it of being involved in investment and commercial activities. She further faulted the Zakat authority for releasing funds through microfinance projects, saying that this has prevented the needy from receiving their money directly.
Similarly, the MP and former media minister Abdella Massar said that the Zakat Authority has turned into a tax-levying institution. He went as far as saying that the Zakat money was being spent on political agendas.
Massar demanded that the Zakat money be sent to the poor as required by the laws that established it.
Reacting to the criticism, the minister Amira Al-Fadil accused the MPs of being subjective. A remark she was later forced to apologize for after MPs insisted that she retracts her statement.