afrol News, 8 December - Three projects fighting malaria and tuberculosis in Mali have seen their international funding suspended as government found "evidence of misappropriation and unjustified expenditure."
This was reported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the world's dominant financier of programmes to fight these diseases.
The Global Fund reports that it already has suspended funding of two malaria grants in Mali with immediate effect and has terminated a third grant for tuberculosis after there was found evidence of "misappropriation".
Malian health programmes financed by the Fund so far have treated 14,000 tuberculosis patients and distributed some 720,000 nets protecting from malaria mosquitoes. Mali has received over US$ 78 million in funding from the Fund, of which most however has been directed in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
The government of Mali has already strongly condemned the embezzlement of funds and is working with the Global Fund "to solve problems and ensure that grant activities can resume as soon as possible." The Global Fund reported that management of the two suspended grants would be "transferred to a new principal recipient."
"The Global Fund tolerates no fraud, and we take public action to stop it, recover lost money and establish new and trustworthy channels for resources so they can reach those in need," said Michel Kazatchkine, the Fund's Executive Director.
"Suspensions are the Global Fund's way of making this clear to all concerned. They are a structured way to work with a country so that together we can put problems behind us and focus on saving lives. I also acknowledge the strong stand adopted by Mali's President Amadou Toumani Touré in fighting corruption," Mr Kazatchkine added.
The decision to suspend the grants in Mali follows an on-going investigation by the Global Fund's Inspector General, which has found that approximately US$ 4 million in grant funds has been misappropriated in a total of five countries worldwide.
The investigation uncovered fraud by senior officials working for grant implementers, through submission of false invoices, creation of fake bid documents and overcharging for goods and services, particularly in relation to training activities.
In addition to the Mali grant suspension, the Global Fund is closely monitoring grants in other five countries. Grants in countries were to have "certain restrictions on cash movements." The five countries are Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Mali, Mauritania and Papua New Guinea.
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