When transparency and integrity lead to unexpected solutions. The courage of a group of workers connected to an NGO in Angola makes them a reference point of reliability and honesty.

Angola«I’ve been working in an NGO since 2008. I started out in this job coordinating an area under the direction of the executive director. Then, in the end of 2010 I took some holidays. When I returned to work, I found that the executive director had offered her resignation and I was asked to take her place. When I began, I found things that were left suspended and among them something rather delicate.

It had to do with theft. During 2007 and 2008 the ex-director had stolen the taxes from the salaries of the workers and from the NGO, and had not paid them to the State. And so we had to pay a fine of some 75,000 dollars, which was an enormous amount for our organization. Perhaps to cover up what she had done, the former director had paid a certain amount on behalf of each worker that corresponded to the amount that had been deducted from their salary in those years. And she kept for himself the amount that the organization was expected to pay to the State.

Each of us received this unexpected bonus without knowing the reason why, and we were very happy and surprised. I received an additional 12,000 dollars in my salary. Happy as I was, my conscience told me that something was wrong, and so I decided to return the extra monies.
I contacted some lawyers to know what I should do and they advised me to falsify the documents, even my work contract, etc. According to them, the State would never have figured out the situation and would have enforced the fine anyway.

But I wanted to remain faithful to my decision to build a more just society. “What would Jesus do in my place?” I asked myself. He would certainly have gone against the current. And so I decided to act accordingly and even to involve my colleagues in my decision.
I told them that the first thing they should was to return the monies that didn’t belong to us and to write to the Finance Ministry explaining what had occurred and asking that the fine be cancelled. To my great surprise all of my colleagues agreed this.

Meanwhile, the ex-director, who had left the country, let me know that she was very angry with me and that my decision to return the monies to the State was exaggerated. She couldn’t understand my actions and said that this would destroy the team spirit that it took years to build. But for me and my colleagues it meant being faithful to our duties as workers, certain that God – who sees all things – would help us.

After three months of contacting the Finance Ministry, we received the happy news that the fine had been cancelled. Moreover, the officials were impressed with the honesty of our gesture in returning the monies to the State. We experienced an answer from God toward those who love and strive to remain faithful to Christian their values.

Recently we had to submit our NGO’s financial statement. The Tax Council concluded by recognizing our NGO as a reference point for the transparency of its administration and for the way in which we solved problems together».

A. G. – Luanda – Angola

Source: www.focolare.org



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