Exclusive: Global Fund responds to fraud allegations

The Global Fund has issued a statement in response to media criticism regarding $34 million in unsubstantiated funds.

Earlier in the week the media had widely reported negligence condemning the Global Fund, but the popularity of the story itself has twisted the facts, which has forced donors to suspend some payments.

While the Global Fund will stringently investigate this incident, the international community must also consider the implications of withdrawing support for the fight against Aids and HIV.

Countries and donors choosing to suspend their donations because of media speculation is at their discretion, however unfortunately due to the culture of the entertainment industry, it is easy to bend the facts for ratings without considering the millions of lives that depend on our help.

I leave with you their response that I received today in the hope that donors reading this article are reassured that donations are safe.

Global Fund Executive Director issues statement :

Two articles published by the Associated Press in recent days and picked up by a large number of media outlets have seriously misrepresented the extent of fraud discovered in grants financed by the Global Fund.

Concerned by the alarmist media stories, some donors to the Global Fund have stated that they need to reassure themselves of the organization's procedures for dealing with fraud before affirming their contributions. I fully respect their concern and will ensure that we will work with everyone to reassure them that our systems to safeguard resources and our procedures for dealing with fraud are solid and trustworthy. We will work with these donors as well as anyone else to ensure that the Global Fund s systems are as good as they possibly can address corruption.

To date, the Global Fund's Office of the Inspector General has undertaken audits or investigations in 33 of the 145 countries where the Global Fund has grants. As a result of this, the total amount of misappropriated or unsubstantiated funds that the Global Fund is demanding to be returned at present is $34 million. While all fraud is unacceptable and the Global Fund is taking strong and firm action to recover such losses, one should keep in mind that this amount represents 0.3 per cent of the total amount of $13 billion disbursed to countries by the Global Fund so far.

In short, the vast majority of Global Fund resources are delivering tremendous progress in the fight against AIDS, TB and malaria and saving millions of lives through the hard work of thousands of hard-working, honest health workers around the world.

Some media reports have also stated that the controls in place to monitor flows of Global Fund financing to countries are non-existent or inadequate. These reports are false and misleading.

Global Fund grants are subject to a rigorous system of financial controls. All grant spending is verified by an independent agency which is required to report at least annually (and in many cases quarterly) on grant progress. All grant progress reports are posted online.

In addition to these controls, the Global Fund's Office of the Inspector General provides an additional independent layer of oversight and scrutiny to uncover wrong-doing.

The Global Fund is committed to the highest standards of transparency and accountability and has acted upon each instance of misuse of its resources by taking strong and swift action, by suspending grants, freezing cash disbursements and by demanding a return of misused funds.

Michel Kazatchkine,

Executive  Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria


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