Leadership (Abuja)

Africa: Global Fund Announces New Measures to Prevent Fraud

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has announced a number of new measures to prevent and detect fraud, following corruption allegations in countries that received grants.

A statement by the UN-backed fund, which has an annual budget of more than 20 billion dollars, said it would set up a high-profile panel of international experts to review its systems.

The head of the Global Fund, Michel Kazatchkine, said the fund had zero tolerance for fraud and corruption in its grants.

"That is why we need to have the strongest possible financial safeguards and fraud prevention measures in place and are responding aggressively when instances of fraud or misappropriation are detected," he said.

A report by the fund's Inspector-General last year revealed that there was grave misuse of funds in four countries out of the 145 that received grants from the fund to combat the three diseases.

The Global Fund suspended grants as a result of misappropriation reported by its Inspector General in Mali, Mauritania and Zambia and Djibouti.

It also demanded the recovery of 34 million dollars unaccounted for in these countries out of a total disbursement of 13 billion dollars.

The report by the investigators stated that, the fund was also

looking into allegations of organised thefts of anti-malarial drugs in Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Togo and Ivory Coast and their sale in Nigeria, Benin, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Guinea.

The Global Fund is a private-public partnership to raise and disburse funds to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Its principle donors are the U.S., France, Germany and Japan.

Last week, Germany suspended its annual payment of more than 200m euros to the fund, after Associated Press (AP) first reported that billions of dollars might have been siphoned.

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