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Kenya: missing out on vital cash

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 19 – Kenya recently missed out on Sh8.6 billion of the global fund for HIV/AIDS prompting the government to form a committee to probe the misappropriation of the fund.

Among the key reasons that made the country lose out on the cash was lack of proper accounting of part of the funds given in 2002, and technical errors in writing the proposal.

According to the Permanent Secretary in the Medical Services Ministry, Professor James Ole Kiyiapi, the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) which is in charge of developing proposals and supervising the global fund is entirely to blame for this.

“They failed and I asked them why on earth they waited for four years to come and tell us – oops! We could not burn the money,” the PS, who is also the new chair of the CCM, told Capital News.

“That’s where the problem was and the CCM of that time must then take full responsibility because they saw that the fund was not being utilised and time was quickly moving, but they did not give a warning,” he added.

The global fund, which is a pool of resources that has been made available to economies on transition by the developed countries for treatment and control of HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis is disbursed through the CCM but implementation is by various partners, key among them the government, civil society organisations and faith based organisations.

“It is the means by which the country can develop proposals for funding by defining the key programme areas, what it is that needs funding and then define what institution will implement what,” the PS has said.

National Aids Control Council (NACC) Chief Executive Officer Professor Alloys Orago says the council is also a member of the CCM by virtue of being the coordinating authority for HIV/AIDS related matters.

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“In total the number of voting members in CCM is 25 and we also have alternates and for NACC there are two alternates so we participate fully in all the discussions,” Professor Orago says.

He says that the CCM, which was formed in 2002, has three technical arms known as Inter agency Coordinating Committees (ICC) and NACC is the chair of the HIV/AIDS committee.

“The global fund recognises three bodies dealing with proposals and funding in this country; the CCM coordinates the development of all proposals then it passes it to the principal recipient who has for a long time been the Treasury, which in turn passes it to the Local Funding Agency (LFA),” Professor Orago says.

“I think it is important for everyone to know that the global fund is performance based and if you don’t perform you don’t get the money, that is very simple to understand,” says Dr Francis Muu, an alternate for NACC.

Dr Muu says it is important for a country to analyse its previous performance before applying for another round of the fund – which Kenya failed to do – leading to its missing out on the monies.

“Only then should you make a decision and say fine, based on our performance here, I think now we should apply for a round. But unfortunately in this country we seem to be jumping on every round,” he says.

“We had written a memo to say we do not want to apply for round eight based on certain irregularities that were seen but because of pressure this country was forced to apply for a round.” 

He however refuses to disclose the source of the pressure only saying it was ‘from many sources, including the civil society organisations’.

He reveals that the flow of the money coming in from the global fund has been poor and says the area that has particularly not done well is the use of the money from the civil society organisations.

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Carol Kinoti, also an NACC alternate, says the country has previously missed out on round three of the fund while for round four the country only got the malaria grant.

“As a country we have been applying for all the rounds, which we now want to review and see whether we really need to apply for them all or there is need to first implement then prioritise, based on the gaps there are; which disease areas to go for,” says Ms Kinoti.

“First of all we should not apply for all rounds; no country ever does that because global fund expects that based on the needs we have we prioritise them and then we request for funding. Applying for every round is going overboard,” she adds.

The Permanent Secretary says that the global fund also lacked confidence in Kenya and it was hesitant to give the country money because they wanted to be sure that all the outstanding issues have been addressed first.

He says the global fund also wanted to be sure that the country has structured the implementation process to make it more efficient and responsive, so that any more funds released would yield the intended results.

“There is already some action that has been taken; in the past we used to have only one principal recipient, which was Treasury – now we have put two principal recipients – Treasury to receive funds for the government implementation, while Care International will be receiving for civil society organisations,” says the PS.

He adds that there will be a PS steering committee for the government projects to ensure implementation obstacles are dealt with beforehand. He says treasury will also have a strong monitoring unit to track the flow of funds and implementation on the ground.

“We want to tighten all the loopholes and all the areas where we feel there was a problem, such as monitoring, reporting and implementation on the ground.”

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