Meanwhile, the Netherlands announces its pledge; Germany clarifies its conditions; and Italy is asked to reconfirm its commitment
Ten months ago, the Global Fund put on hold about $95million in potential disbursements under four grants to the Zambia Ministry ofHealth, because of fraud within the ministry that was first reported by awhistleblower. Seven current or former ministry employees were charged by theZambian government in relation to the fraudulent appropriation of about$350,000 from one of the grants.
The Global Fund has suspended disbursements to the Ministry of Health (MoH) of Zambia, which is the principal recipient (PR) for several grants. The Global Fund's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has concluded that there was fraud in connection with one or more of the grants.
In a separate development from that in Mauritania, three senior government officials in Mali have been arrested in connection with alleged fraud with Global Fund grants.
In Mauritania, a full criminal investigation, initiated by the Office of the Mauritanian Inspector General, has led to the arrest of three senior officials in the Executive Secretariat of Mauritania's National AIDS Committee (SENLS), and to the issue of an arrest warrant for a fourth staff member. SENLS is the principal recipient (PR) for Mauritania's Round 5 HIV grant, the only active HIV grant in the country.
The government of Uganda has agreed, after a two-year delay, to start seeking prosecutions of numerous people, including former government ministers, who were involved in stealing Global Fund money. The decision to unblock the stalled prosecutions came as a result of pressure from donor governments.
If developing countries are to make significant progress in the coming decades in the battle against HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, they will require not only the enormous financial resources that the Global Fund can provide, but also the active participation of a substantial army of foot-soldiers – engaging the enemy village by village in the countryside, and street by street in the cities.
The Global Fund's "Round 8", launched on March 1, is expected to be the biggest Round thus far. No previous Round has involved two-year commitments by the Fund of more than $1.1 billion. Yet the Fund says that currently, approximately $2 billion is forecast to be available for Round 8, and that this amount may increase as additional pledges from donors are made.
When the Global Fund was launched five years ago, it specified that any country that wished to obtain a Global Fund grant first had to establish a CCM (Country Coordinating Mechanism) that would develop the proposal and then oversee the resulting grant.
The Global Fund has launched a new "Debt2Health" initiative that could result in substantial finances being received by the Fund. The initiative is a form of "debt conversion", in which Western governments that are owed money by developing countries agree to cancel a portion of the debt on condition that the developing countries in question invest specified lesser amounts of money in Global Fund-approved programmes.