NAIROBI, October 31- Kenya has not been blacklisted by the Global Fund contrary to earlier reports following the alleged misappropriation of funds.,
Health Minister Beth Mugo said on Friday that she would be in Geneva on November 11-12 to discuss with the fund directors the way forward for Kenya after she has received the report of the task force which was formed to look into how the funds were used.
“I am very confident that after this meeting we will clear the air, we will have the answers the global fund requires and we will resume business with them,” said Mugo who was speaking at the team’s inauguration at Afya House.
Mugo added that her ministry is also working on the proposal that they will submit to the fund towards application for round nine of the funding.
“We are not blacklisted as such, we just have to give the fund information that they require,” she added.
The Global Fund has denied Kenya additional cash to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and Malaria until it can account for what has been given so far
Mugo also sought to clarify the exact role of the force which is constituted bureaucrats from Treasury, Health and Medical Services ministry.
“This task force cannot investigate any minister or anybody for that matter, its not an investigative body,” said Mugo.
“It will seek information from the people who were in the ministry at the time the funds are said to be unaccounted for,” added the Dagoretti MP.
The team will have one week to audit information relating to the utilization for the funds and will submit their report on November 7.
On Thursday Mrs Mugo said that the 12-member team would be led by two permanent secretaries from the concerned ministries who are new to the positions and therefore unlikely to have had previous involvement with the fund.
She however insisted that not the entire Sh13 billion had been stolen, suggesting that a considerable fraction of the missing amount may have been lost due to bad accounting.
“When I went to Geneva in May (for a global health conference), this same issue was brought before me by the Executive Director of Global Fund. So the current people in the ministry are new and therefore we will definitely get to the bottom of this matter,” Mrs Mugo said. “We don’t believe that all this money is stolen because it is handled by many people, including NGOs, government departments and record keeping and accounting papers are missing in most of the areas,” she added.
The Minister also said that the taskforce would also look at the country’s coordinating mechanisms and monitoring programs aimed at improving usage of funds.
On Monday, Mrs Mugo’s counterpart in the Medical Services Ministry Anyang Nyong’o said Kenya would not apply for the eighth round of funds until audit issues are cleared whereas Mrs Mugo, a day later, said she would on November 12 lead a delegation to Geneva to meet the Global Fund’s boss in a bid to explain the country’s position.
She also assured that there was enough cash to support anti-retroviral drugs until 2010 and treatment for TB and malaria until 2011.
Meanwhile, Mrs Mugo’s predecessor Charity Ngilu has distanced herself from any possible involvement in the scam saying her hands are clean.
Mrs Ngilu said on Thursday that she had, in fact, disbanded the Kenya Medical Supply Agency Board because of malpractices.
Similarly, the National Aids Control Council (NACC) distanced itself from the mess saying their accounts were clean and NACC had handled their monies appropriately.