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.