Questionable financial practices in UN
Fatwa No: 85763

Question

I work one of the United Nations Organizations in Somalia. I would like to ask you the following very important questions:I work as an accountant and I do all financial related tasks. Our headquarters is in Nairobi Kenya. This organization has a number of sub-offices in Somalia and implements number of projects in this country. When this UN organization is paying the operations and projects expenditures, it uses through local businessman. The money facilitator (business man) receives from the organization payment instructions to pay certain amount of money to staff member, contractor, etc. When the businessman pays all amounts that he has been asked to pay, he prepares an invoice totaling the amount he paid on behalf of the UN organization plus 3% commission. Later on the UN organization reimburses the total invoice to the businessman's account in Djibouti. The UN organizations are saying that they cannot bring their money into this country because it is not safe. Some parts of the country are really unsafe and other parts are very safe. The UN organization is saying that let businessman pays first then we will reimburse to them the total amount plus service charges. My questions are:1) Is it an interest the 3% that the businessman earning when he do this service?2) I am the staff member doing the task of accounting on the above payments, Shall I stop working at this organization because there is something that Allah prohibited (Interest).

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

 

1)    Apparently the 3% rate commission which is taken by that man is Riba (interest and/or usury) as it is linked to the amount to be paid back. This is so, because the dealer here is working as an agent and it is a rule that if the agent pays the debts of the one he is representing from his own money and with the consent of his mandator, then this is considered as a loan taken by the mandator. So, if the agent takes an amount that exceeds the amount he has paid and that stays linked with it, then this is a loan with Riba, hence forbidden. But if this agent takes a fixed amount that is not linked with the initial amount he paid, i.e. not a percentage, then this is lawful as this is considered as mandating somebody and paying him/her for that.

2)    If this company deals in lawful matters or if that is what prevails in its dealings, but it does some transactions in the way you mentioned, then there is no harm to stay with them, provided you do not deal directly with those forbidden dealings. But, it is better for you to look for another job that is free from what is forbidden. However, if you deal directly in what is forbidden or help in such dealings, then you should quit this job and Allaah will provide you with a better one. Allaah Says (what means): {And whosoever fears Allaah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine.} [Quran 65: 2-3]

Allaah Knows best.

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