Global Fund Wants Kenya To Refund Its Millions Back

The Global Fund wants its cash lost in Aids, malaria and tuberculosis programmes in Kenya refunded.

A damning audit report of the money it provided to the country up to 2010 is categorical that various government departments and individuals involved in the misuse or direct theft of some $3,253,161 (Sh270 million) should return the cash.

Unlike with similar reports in the past, a draft of the current one was first given to the Kenyan Government to ascertain whether it was a true reflection of corruption within the fund’s programmes in the country.

In February, Public Health and Sanitation permanent secretary Mark Bor, in a letter to Mr John Parsons of the Global Fund, said the country agreed with the contents of the report and was in the process of implementing some of the recommendations.

A section in the audit report explaining how far Kenya had gone in implementing the recommendations says some individuals, especially in the Division of Malaria Control, had already returned some of the money they had stolen.

In one instance, the government says it has recovered the bulk of about Sh4.5 million withdrawn from a Global Fund grant using fake documents, with the staff member in question having been asked to pay back some Sh2.5 million.

However, sources privy to the original report say the final report has been diluted. Following media reports about corruption in its programmes, last year, the fund said in future it would prepare different reports — a detailed one for the recipient country and a general version for the public.

The report indicates endemic levels of theft and corruption in all the programmes at all levels, from the Ministerial Procurement Committees right up to transport officers and drivers.

While the corruption is shown to be widespread in all government agencies handling Global Funds cash, it is indicated as being most frequent at the National Aids and STD Control Programme (NASCOP), the National Aids Control Council (NACC) and the Division of Malaria Control.

NACC is currently conducting a campaign to have Kenyans taxed to sustain a special HIV trust fund which it says should be used to replace declining donor money.

The report accuses NACC of paying millions of shillings to briefcase organisations, unbudgeted for staff and employing unqualified people.

-Africa Review

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