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Sh10b released despite accounts fiasco

NAIROBI, November 3- Kenya has received a grant of Sh10 billion from the Global Fund for the improvement of the quality of life of People Living with HIV/AIDS and the reduction of infections.

Making the announcement on Monday, Public Health and Sanitation Minister Beth Mugo said the grant to be signed on Wednesday would assist in scaling up antiretroviral (ARV) treatment and strengthen capacity to monitor the Fund’s programmes.

"The new grant will be the first phase of a new five-year HIV/AIDS financing to Kenya from the Global Fund.  Part of the proceeds will be used in addressing the challenges facing Kenya in monitoring and evaluation for the Global Fund supported programmes in the country," she said.

However the new disbursement came with strict regulations which state that government (through the Ministry of Finance) can only be accountable for government institutions while CARE International (K) will handle accounts for Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO).

Mrs Mugo said:  "This rules out a conflict in accounting (where government was charged with scrutinising the accounts of both the NGO and that of the government institutions) as government will conduct its audits while the NGO world does theirs."

She was speaking during the National Launch of a HIV Testing and Counselling Campaign at the Mathare North Health Centre.
At the same time the Public Health Minister said she will be travelling to Geneva to meet the Fund’s Executive Director and was optimistic that Kenya would retain its place on the Global Fund’s grant list for Round 8 and 9.

"Let’s not speculate too much.  What I know is that we still have a chance to re-apply.  If we don’t get it we will have learnt our lessons to be more accountable," she said.

Kenya will be arguing its case amid claims of lack of accountability in its spending.

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She said: "This is an issue that’s not unique to Kenya only.  It also exists at the Fund.  Sometimes the disbursements are late which affects implementation programmes of many projects which then can’t be complete within the planned time."

The meeting with the Global Fund comes against the backdrop of a recommendation by its technical review panel that Kenya’s proposal for the Round 8 funding be rejected; saying billions of dollars are unaccounted for.

The final decision, however, lies with the Fund’s board of directors which meets this month.

Mrs Mugo said the recent development did not affect the work of a Taskforce set up to investigate why Kenya failed to give the Global Fund the required information during submission of the Round 8 proposals.

The Taskforce has until Friday to submit its report, which will be used to prepare an appropriate response that the Kenyan delegation will present.

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