US$1.8m Global Fund looted

OVER US$1.8 million meant to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis  and Malaria in Zambia has not been accounted for  and the Global Fund has taken  Zambia National Aids Network (ZNAN) to task to recover all the funds without fail.

ZNAN board chairman George Zimba said the organization disbursed funds to several organisations of whom some failed to account for the money.

He said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that five organisations and ZNAN failed to utilize the money according to Global Fund guidelines.

Among the organisations which have been cited are Maureen Mwanawasa Community Initiative, Kara Counselling and Zambia Tuberculosis Trust.

“MMCI has K1.2 million, Kara Counselling K5.7 million, Zambia Tuberculosis and Leprosy Trust K12, 000.  There is also Esu School of Nursing which is owing K56, 000 and another community based organization K122, 000. These are unsupported expenditures which the auditors found.

“Then we have US$ 49, 674 which was excess, ZNAN  used it without Global Fund guidelines and they want it back from ZNAN management.  All these monies have to be went back to the Global Fund ,” Mr Zimba said

He said from funding correct oganisations, ZNAN started funding Government institutions such as Mkushi District Hospital, University of Zambia Vice-Chancellor’s standing committee, Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA), Kakumbi Rural Health Centre and Chainama Collenge of Health .

He said according to an agreement signed between Global Fund and ZNAN, all those institutions were not supposed to receive the money from ZNAN.

“All that money, they want it back because it was being given to organisations which did not qualify to receive money from ZNAN,” Mr Zimba said.

He said ZNAN has written to defaulting organisations reminding them of the debt  while others like MMCI have shown willingness to pay back the money.

Mr Zimba said others like Kara Counselling were hesitant to refund and warned that all organisations that would not comply would be taken to court.

“Letters are being sent to those institutions, it is only that our lawyers were on leave and now that they are back; we have given them instructions to make sure every institution has to pay back the money so that we close the chapter,” he said.

Mr Zimba said once the money was recovered, ZNAN would immediately be closed down in Zambia.

“For now, it cannot be closed while there is  outstanding debts,” he said.

Mr Zimba said it was important that the money was recovered because there was a danger that the Global Fund could withhold funding for the country.

He said his organization has huge liability with its workers and other people who were providing goods and services to ZNAN.

Mr Zimba said the money was misapplied over a period of time and it was only discovered after the Global Fund audit conducted in 2010.

He said because of ZNAN’s failure to respond to audit queries, the Global Fund halted funding ZNAN and now the money was being channeled to Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ) which was now receiving the money for HIV/AIDS related activities in Zambia.

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