Global Fund pledges 'zero tolerance' on corruption
The head of the Global Fund Against AIDS, TB and Malaria on Monday pledged "zero tolerance" for corruption following reports that it was dealing with cases that had prompted donor nation Sweden's concern.
"The global fund has zero tolerance for corruption and actively seeks to uncover any evidence of misuse of its funds," said Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund, underlining its "most rigorous" anti fraud controls.
Kazatchkine said the cases of corruption reported in the media over the weekend were not new and had already been revealed by the organisation last year on its website and acted on.
They involved "grave misuse" of about 34 million dollars for projects in Djibouti, Mali, Mauritania and Zambia that had gone missing in the four African countries, he explained.
Kazatchkine said his organisation had recovered 19 million dollars so far.
The Fund revealed last June that it had suspended aid to Zambia awaiting action by local authorities on fraud.
Kazatchkine said Monday that criminal proceedings were underway there as well as in Mali and Mauritania, but he did not mention Djibouti.
A Swedish newspaper reported on Saturday that Sweden had told Kazatchkine that it would not commit to its 167 million euro contribution to the fund unless more was done to ensure that cash is not siphoned off.
"Sweden did not say that it would withdraw," Kazatchkine told journalists.
"On the contrary I came back Friday evening from Stockholm with the statement that Sweden would contribute and would increase its constributions to the Fund," he added.
"Sweden is the example of a country to which we have supplied explanations that appeared to be satisfactory," Kazatchkine said.
The UN-backed agency provides grants for selected projects against the three diseases in poor nations, allocating money provided by governments and private donors such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
It is the largest single source of funding to tackle HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, three of the world's biggest killer diseases, in developing nations.
© 2011 AFP