Kenya Must Account for $10M in Global Fund Grants or Risk Suspension of $100M in Funding, Officials Say
The Kenyan government might lose about $100 million in Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria funding if it does not account for about $10 million the fund already has given to the country, officials said on Tuesday, AFP/Independent Online reports (AFP/Independent Online, 3/30). The fund board approved a $134 million grant to Kenya to be dispersed over time beginning in September 2005. The Kenyan government has failed to account for $10 million of the $34 million in funds already distributed, Xinhua reports. Global Fund Deputy Director Hellen Evans on Wednesday after meeting with Kenyan Health Minister Charity Ngilu said the fund's board will meet in about two weeks to decide if it will continue to release funding under the grant (Xinhua, 3/30). Ngilu on Thursday said the country's auditor general "is satisfied with how [the health ministry] ha[s] spent the money and the problem lies with the reports from the National AIDS Control Council and the civil societies" to which the money was distributed (ANDNetwork.com, 3/31). The group United Society Coalition on AIDS, TB and Malaria at a news conference on Wednesday called for the auditor general to release an audit certificate related to the grant before it expired on Thursday, Kenya's Standard reports (Standard, 3/29). According to Kenya's Monitor, the Global Fund has given the Kenyan government until Friday to account for the funding (Luggya et al., Monitor, 3/31).
Global Fund Head Feachem Says Pledged Funding Not Secure
The Global Fund might have to break grant pledges if pledged donor funds are not delivered, the fund's Executive Director Richard Feachem said on Thursday, Reuters South Africa reports. Recipient countries "are putting hundreds of thousands of people on antiretroviral therapy on a financial promise that is not secure," Feachem said, adding, "If the Global Fund were to renege on that promise because the financing is not available, the recipient countries simply could not buy the resources to meet the shortfall." The fund to date has distributed about half of the $4.9 billion it has pledged to give to recipient countries. Donors have pledged nearly $9 billion to the fund, and an additional $1 billion is needed to fulfill commitments for this year (MacInnis, Reuters South Africa, 3/30).
Kenya's Treasury needs to establish a "liaison unit" to monitor grant implementation and act as a "focal point" for groups receiving grant funding in order to "assess progress," a Standard editorial says. The audit of the Global Fund grant, which largely was a "routine accounting procedure," has "opened a can of worms, leaving the [g]overnment shamelessly exposed," according to the editorial. "The way the current crisis is handled will influence how other donors will treat [Kenya]," the editorial says, adding, "Given the many national disasters facing us, it would be a disservice to the nation if the Treasury remains indifferent and the country loses [$100 million] in funding." The editorial concludes, "The trust of donors and the lives of Kenyans must never be taken for granted" (Standard, 3/30).