NAIROBI, October 30 – Public Health Minister Beth Mugo has defended a taskforce formed to investigate misappropriation of the Global Fund that made the country to be disqualified for the eighth round of the fund.,
Mrs Mugo pointed out to Journalists on Thursday 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.