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Corruption Bill Brieger | 12 Jan 2009 02:03 am

Speaking out on Missing Global Funds

The Daily Nation in Nairobi calls the inability to trace missing money from the country’s Global Fund Grants the “Shame of reaping from the sick and dying.” Although Government had set up a task force three months ago, the current Public Health Minister, “pompously announced that no funds were misappropriated after all, despite her Medical Services counterpart Anyang’ Nyong’o’s and her own earlier admission that the money had been stolen. Perhaps in their preposterous belief that Kenyans are such a forgetful lot, the two ministers that owe Kenyans an explanation over the Global Fund’s saga have resumed business as usual.”

The article provides details on other money that has disappeared from government coffers:

  • Sh19.3 million from the joint Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)/US Centres for Disease Control bank account in Kisumu
  • Last month, Kemri’s entire pension fund amounting to Sh 537 million went missing

The ramifications of the Global Fund problem are starkly highlighted by the Nation – literally children dying from malaria and AIDS patients dying from tuberculosis and lack of food.

Not only was Kenya denied Round 8 funding from the Global Fund, but application for Round 9 funds was put on hold until the task force resolved the problems.  Apparently officials believe that the task force is no longer needed since the Minister “insisted the Government would apply (for Round 9), after all.”

The Global Fund and its contributors are persistent and will not be as ‘forgetful’ as Kenyan citizens are thought to be.  In fact advocacy from Kenyan citizens to save their own lives will probably go a long way to solve the problem, if they are not muzzled by the new media law or caught up in political uncertainties persisting after the last botched elections. Government’s openness and accountability, it seems, are actually preconditions for the health of its citizens.

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