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ZIMBABWE: Corruption allegations plague PWA group

Allegations of corruption and misappropriation of funds could seriously jeopardise the work of Zimbabwe's National Network for People Living with HIV/AIDS (ZNNP+), the organisation's chairperson says.

The network's director, Frank Guni, has been suspended over the alleged misappropriation of funds and will be investigated, Tendai Chimusoro chairperson of ZNNP+, told PlusNews on Monday. Guni is being accused of misusing nearly 40 million Zimbabwe dollars (US $750,000), which he allegedly used to buy houses for himself.

"When Frank left in November for two weeks leave, we discovered this mess and requested another audit. Now we are investigating the whole matter," Chimusoro said. Guni has also been accused of neglecting his work, as he still has not returned from leave, and has been suspended from National AIDS Council (NAC) Board by the ministry of health and child welfare.

Last year, the ZNNP+ received more than US $1.8 million from the National AIDS Trust Fund for the creation of income generation projects for people living with HIV/AIDS. In August the NAC instructed the ZNNP+ not to issue any cheques or disburse any funds without the approval of an accountant. They were "shocked" when they found out that Guni had been using the money without any approval, said Chimusoro.

"The audit that was carried out by the ministry of health was very bad and the audit report will be tabled in Parliament soon," said Chimusoro. The network only has US $93.800 left for the year and has had its bank accounts frozen. As a result, some staff have not received their salaries and most accounts have not been paid.

"Right now we are not even certain of what is going to happen and this is still a shock for many of us," said Chimusoro.

The AIDS Trust Fund was created in 2000 after the government imposed a three percent AIDS levy on personal and corporate income. Last year, the ZNNP+ was the largest beneficiary of the fund and has successfully implemented home-based care and orphan assistance programmes.

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