A $21.7 billion development fund backed by celebrities and hailed as an alternative to the bureaucracy of the United Nations sees as much as two-thirds of some grants eaten up by corruption, The Associated Press has learned.Fund officials blame African regimes where the bulk of the corruption is alleged for misspending the monies allocated.
Much of the money is accounted for with forged documents or improper bookkeeping, indicating it was pocketed, investigators for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria say. Donated prescription drugs wind up being sold on the black market.
The fund's newly reinforced inspector general's office, which uncovered the corruption, can't give an overall accounting because it has examined only a tiny fraction of the $10 billion that the fund has spent since its creation in 2002. But the levels of corruption in the grants they have audited so far are astonishing.
A full 67 percent of money spent on an anti-AIDS program in Mauritania was misspent, the investigators reported.
So did 36 percent of the money spent on a program in Mali to fight tuberculosis and malaria, and 30 percent of grants to Djibouti.
In Zambia, where $3.5 million in spending was undocumented and one accountant pilfered $104,130, the fund decided the nation's health ministry simply couldn't manage the grants and put the United Nations in charge of them.
The fund is trying to recover $7 million in "unsupported and ineligible costs" from the ministry.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Billions Missing From Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was seen as a charitable entity that could be a viable alternative to the United Nations. Well, it seems to have picked up many of the same problem traits as the United Nations, including corruption, graft, and shoddy accounting practices. No one knows where billions of dollars have gone.