We don’t owe ZNAN, says Leprosy Trust

THE Zambia Tuberculosis and Leprosy Trust (ZTLT) has hit back at Zambia National Aids Network (ZNAN) for claiming that the trust owes it K12, 000 in unaccounted funds from the Global Fund.

ZTLT executive director Charity Habeenzu said her organization refunded ZNAN after audit queries were raised and that claims by ZNAN had the potential to damage its reputation in eyes of the donors.

ZNAN board chairman George Zimba also confirmed that the trust paid back the money and that the information he gave out last week was based on the information on the record.

Ms Habeenzu told the Daily Nation yesterday that the impression created by ZNAN was that the trust did not deserve any funding from donors because it failed to account for the money it was given.

She demanded an immediate apology from ZNAN to clear her organisation’s name.

“If you delay to apology and say it was a mistake, we will have problems. We have applied for funding and people (donors) would think that we don’t deserve any funding. So, it is important that the impression created is corrected.

“We paid back the money when audit queries were raised. We don’t owe ZNAN anything… we are clean, unless maybe they are talking of something else… This is very unfair and I have talked to the people at ZNAN,” Ms Habeenzu said.

Ms Habeenzu said ZNAN’s statement could destroy her organisation because the donors could stop funding its activities.

“We applied for funding from different organisations… what is important is for ZNAN to apologise, it was their mistake,” she said.

Ms Habeenzu said the trust had over 1,000 people on anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) at its clinic and wondered where they would go and access medication from if the organization closed down.

“Don’t kill our organization we have a lot of patients who are depending on us. We are running a community clinic and if you destroy us where would those patients go.  We have more than 1, 000 patients who are on ARVs at our community clinic, it is not fair to accuse us of what was resolved,” she said.

Last week, Mr Zimba said US$1.8 million meant for HIV/AIDS related programmes had not been accounted for and the Global Funds has asked ZNAN to recover it without fail.

Mr Zimba claimed that ZNAN and five other  organisations among them, the Zambia Tuberculosis and Leprosy Trust failed to utilize the money according to Global Fund guidelines.

Other organisations cited are Maureen Mwanawasa Community Initiative and Kara Counselling.

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