The General Directorate of Revenue (DGI) refuses to issue a “certificate of solvency” to the NGOs canceled in recent months by the National Assembly and the Ministry of the Interior in Nicaragua, preventing these Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs) complete their final closure.
Independent lawyers warn that this obstacle opens the possibility for the directors of the NGO to be linked to crimesWhat political retaliation of the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, just as before, the obstacle of the Government served as an argument for their annulment.
Among the possible crimes to which the directors of canceled NGOs could be linked are:
- Tax evasion
- abusive management
So far in 2022, the regime —through the National Assembly and the Ministry of the Interior— has outlawed 2007 NGOs in Nicaragua.
Several of these NPOs have tried to settle their commitments with State institutions and complete their cancellation before the Government. However, they have run into a new obstacle, now in the DGI, which refuses to unblock NGO users to declare their taxes and extend the solvency certificate.
Workers of canceled NGOs report new obstacles in the DGI
“Teresa”, a worker at an environmental organization closed last April, said that, after its annulment in Parliament, they prepared their financial statements and began the path to its definitive closure: they asked the National Technological Institute (Inatec) and to Nicaraguan Institute of Social Security (INSS) that they be “deregistered” and they succeeded, but the whole process stalled in the DGI.
“Before we came out on the lists (of organizations without legal status), the DGI had already blocked our user from entering the system,” commented “Teresa”, who pointed out that they thought it was an “error” and reported it via letter. , but there was no answer.
Finally, they told the DGI that the NGO was annulled and they needed to declare the pending taxes to obtain proof of solvency and submit the documentation to Migob. However, an official informed them that they had to wait because she “did not know” when the “user window” would open, which is where the online tax return is made.
In a similar situation is “Karla”, who worked in the north of Nicaragua in an organization that defends women’s rights. “We have a serious problem in the Revenue Administration because since they closed us (through a parliamentary decree) they no longer let us access the window,” she said.
They processed their closing solvency and the DGI requested the records from a previous year, they have taken them twice, but the process is still bogged down.
“The Revenue Administration has not given us any explanation in relation to why they do not let us do the closing. They only ask you for documents, information on all the withholdings, on the declarations that we have made since 2020”, described “Karla”.
That same pattern was repeated with the organization where “Karina” worked, focused on supporting patients with chronic diseases in the north of the country. They have not achieved the definitive closure because they blocked their user online. “They absolutely eliminated us from the DGI,” she said.
Of the more than 2,000 outlawed organizationsSo far, it is unknown how many are in the same situation because the former directors are afraid to speak to the press for fear of reprisals from the regime. Other associations decided not to do any kind of management after the cancellation of their legal status.
However, the three sources consulted stated that they know of several associations that face the same battle, but they do not report it.
DGI is “part of a strategy” against NGOs
For lawyer Juan Diego Barberena, it is important to consider these impediments faced by NGOs, since they may be part of a “subsequent strategy or stage on the part of the Ortega-Murillo regime to delegitimize the exercise of civil society and express that they were working to commit crimes, to commit acts of money laundering, to commit acts to the detriment of the Revenue Administration”.
As they did with the closure of the organizations, in which on more than one occasion, the deputies indicated that these actions respond to the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), now they could say that they proceed “criminally against of its members” under the same logic, he explained.
“Karla” does not know what repercussions would cause the closing process to remain unfinished. She does not rule out that this situation could be used by the Government against her; “Anything can happen in relation to how we are (defenseless)”, said the activist.
Barberena explained that, according to the law, the annulled organizations would not have major inconveniences because they legally ceased to exist, therefore “there is no possibility that they can proceed judicially to sue the civil non-profit organization.” However, by maintaining unfinished processes with the DGI, this can give rise to possible “criminal accusations”, taking into account the reality of the country.
Another attorney who admitted to speaking with CONFIDENTIAL Anonymously, he explained that the NGOs should file an appeal for unconstitutionality against the cancellation of their legal personality, and in view, that in their closure management they have been hindered by the DGI or any other State institution, point it out in the judicial document.
Like Barberena, he warned that there is a risk for organizations by leaving a pending process with any entity. In the DGI, a debt could be generated and, eventually, NGOs could be criminalized for crimes related to the Public Treasury.
Government washes its hands with the NGOs
Without options to fight before the DGI, “Teresa” went to Migob and explained that they had all the solvencies of the state institutions, except for taxes because they refused to unlock her user.
The Migob replied that without proof of solvency from the DGI They will not receive the documentation. At the same time, he informed them that they had to present a notarized certificate, indicating that the NGO’s assets passed to the State, in an attempt to “legalize the delivery of the goods and that it does not seem that it is actually taken away,” said “Teresa” .
The organization rented offices, which were quickly vacated for fear that the tenant would be affected, as has happened with other foundations, whose headquarters were occupied by the Police. The only patrimony of the NGO was a farm of one block, which continues without being intervened, although it no longer has private security.
The lawyer advising the environmental organization of “Teresa” recommended that they not abandon the process to avoid any type of retaliation in the near or distant future.
“Here we don’t even know what can happen tomorrow. We are in total uncertainty, you don’t know if lowering your arms is good or bad. In the end, it is to continue going to a never-ending process, ”she said hopelessly.