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Corruption allegations plague AIDS body
Friday 24 September 2004
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KENYA: Corruption allegations plague AIDS body


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


JOHANNESBURG , 1 September (PLUSNEWS) - Kenya's AIDS NGOs are hoping that recent allegations of corruption and misappropriation in Kenya's National AIDS Control Council (NACC) will not affect the country's AIDS programmes and funding.

The council's director, Dr Margaret Gachara, was suspended after she obtained an inflated salary by "improper" means, NACC spokesman Kassim Mambo, told PlusNews. The country's HIV/AIDS coordinating body is also under investigation after being accused of mishandling money.

"She (Gachara) used fake documents to negotiate her salary. We [NACC] don't have official information about how much it was, but what has been reported in the papers is that it was about US $27,000 [per month], compared with the normal director's salary of US $4,000 per month," Mambo said.

Gachara was suspended and replaced by Dr Patrick Orege following an internal investigation that exposed details of the forgery and recommended that she repay money to the council.

"The other allegations are being investigated by the Efficiency Monitoring Unit and the government's anti-corruption unit. As of now, they are mere speculation," he added.

Although Mambo admitted that the NACC had a "great stake" in the formulation and requisition of HIV/AIDS funding, he was cautiously optimistic about the council's future.

"These allegations do not mean disaster. I don't see why donors will withhold funding," he commented.

In June, the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis withheld a US $15 million AIDS grant until the government addressed claims of "corruption" in the council.

These issues were resolved and an agreement was expected to be signed in August after the health ministry announced that the funds would now be distributed through the Constituency AIDS Committees, and administrative structures at NACC would be changed.

"We hope the suspension of the director will not be an issue - things should continue," Ester Gatua, programme manager of Kenya's AIDS NGO Consortium, told PlusNews.

"This should be a sign to the donors that the government is serious and has taken steps to control corruption. It would be unfortunate if this affected the work we are doing," Gatua said.





[ENDS]


 
Recent KENYA Reports
AIDS drugs to be manufactured within weeks,  23/Sep/04
Government to expand HIV/AIDS treatment,  27/Aug/04
Focus on primary schools coping with HIV-positive pupils,  16/Feb/04
Bridging the reproductive health gap for girls in Nairobi slums,  14/Jan/04
Confusion over HIV prevalence rates ,  13/Jan/04
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The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria

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PlusNews is produced under the banner of RHAIN, the Southern African Regional HIV/AIDS Information Network. RHAIN's members currently include:

  • UNAIDS
  • IRIN
  • Inter Press Service (IPS)
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  • PANOS
  • Health Systems Trust
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  • GTZ/Afronets

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