Illegal fundraisers who do not have the relevant licence

Posted on 20 May 2020, by Savvas Savvides

Well done to the people who made the purpose of their lives to help their fellow man in these difficult days since the appearance of the pandemic, well done to those who rush to help by contributing to this worthy cause. But there is a big ‘but’ in all of this …

According to the Fundraising Law of 2014, (68(I)/2014) no person (natural or legal) is entitled to organise a fundraiser unless a relevant permit is in force throughout the period of the fundraiser.

Such authorisation permits the organisation to hold the fundraiser and ensures that the fundraising effort is conducted in accordance with the procedures, terms and/or conditions set out in the relevant legislation referred to above. Otherwise, the fundraiser organizer/s is/are guilty of an offence under the provisions of Law 68(I)/2014.

According to this Law:

  • Holding a fundraiser with visits from house-to-house is prohibited.
  • The use of campaigners that are paid, as well as the involvement of advertising agencies for remuneration, can only be approved by the Minister of the Interior.
  • The holding of a fundraising at traffic lights is prohibited.
  • Each fundraising organiser shall submit, not only an accurate income and expenditure account to the Licensing Authority, but also information on how it intends to make use of the monies received. The Licensing Authority checks the accounts and submits a report to the Minister of the Interior, who, if it transpires that the revenue exceeds the needs for which the fundraiser was held, shall have the power to request the reimbursement of a similar amount, which will be deposited into the Fixed Fund of the Republic.
  • The Licensing Authority shall also have power, after any consultation with the Director-General of the Ministry of Finance, to investigate and decide whether any action to sell lotteries, forms or other items, constitutes a covert fundraising act and any decision of the Licensing Authority is binding on those affected.
  • The Ministry of Interior maintains on its website an updated list of all ongoing fundraising permits in the Republic, containing information on their time validity, purpose, manner and venue of each fundraiser.
  • In accordance with Article 19, no person shall act as a fundraiser, unless the prescribed Certificate of Authorisation, has been approved by the Minister of The Interior.
  • In accordance with Article 6, a person wishing to organise a fundraiser must apply for a permit, in each case, from a competent Licensing Authority (Ministry of Interior or Provincial Administration), at least 30 days before the fundraising is held.

With regard to securing a permit to hold a fundraiser at a district or local level, there is a Commission consisting of the relevant District Officer or his representative, the District Police Director or his representative, the District Officer of the Department of Social Welfare Services or his representative, a representative of the Association of Municipalities of Cyprus, who comes from a Municipality of the district concerned, the Chairperson or representative of the District Union of Communities of the respective district, and a representative of the District Coordinating Council of Volunteerism.

For "Pancyprian" fundraisers, a Central Committee, consisting of the Director-General of the Ministry of Interior or a representative, as Chairperson, one of the District Officers, the Chief of Police or his representative, the Director of the Department of Social Welfare Services or his representative, a representative of the Association of Municipalities of Cyprus, a representative of the Union of Communities of Cyprus and a representative of the Pancyprian Coordinating Council of Volunteerism.

The Australian philosopher, Peter Singer, has argued that the drowning child in front of you and the hungry child of Africa are not much different.  We have to care about our fellow man and offer help in any way we can.  But let us do it in the right and legal way so that there are no doubts in the minds of our fellow human beings who rush to help by contributing to a worthy cause.

The content of this article is valid as at the date of its first publication.  It is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and does not constitute legal advice.  We recommend that you seek professional advice on a specific matter before acting on any information provided.  For further information, please contact Mr Savvas Savvides at savvas.savvides@kyprianou.com.

Lawyer, Partner and Director of the Paphos Office of the Law Firm, Michael Kyprianou & Co LLC