Kenya under probe over misuse of HIV funds

What you need to know:

  • Global Fund audit report also indicates rampant diversion of malaria drugs meant for public hospitals

Kenya is under investigation for corruption and fraudulent use of money meant for fighting HIV, malaria and tuberculosis donated by the Global Fund.

According to the Fund, a procedural audit in August provided sufficient indications that there is theft, abuse and misappropriation of its money.

The country will also be investigated for rampant diversion of malaria drugs meant for public hospitals into the local and regional markets.

A recent report by the Fund’s Office of the Inspector General says Kenya is among 10 other countries whose routine audits last year justified formal investigations.

According to its charter, the Fund carries out formal investigations when it identifies potential fraud, abuse, misappropriation, corruption and mismanagement.

The Inspector General’s Office also says it has identified instances of organised thefts of anti-malarial drugs in several countries in Africa.

“We believe that a significant percentage of all Global Fund-financed anti-malarial drugs (and most likely other drugs) have been, and are continuously being, diverted,” says the Global Fund report

“Several identified instances, of organised thefts of anti-malarial drugs in several different countries in Africa including Kenya have been brought to our attention,” the fund states.

A study published in a December issue of the journal Research and Reports in Tropical Medicine estimated that 38 per cent of first line malaria drugs — artemisinin-based combination therapy — sold in Nairobi are taken from government supplies.

The researchers had wanted the Global Fund to take action to stave off the loss of donors’ money.

In July Medical Services minister Anyang’ Nyong’o said such cartels were known to be in operation and would be crushed.

“We are awaiting information to ascertain how drugs meant for Kenya are found in Uganda. We shall chase them until they enter ant-holes,” Prof Nyong’o said.

Initial investigations by the Global Fund indicate these drugs to be “following a trans-continental trafficking route, overland and possibly by sea.”

The action against Kenya comes amid months of proxy wars in the Internet anonymously telling of corruption in HIV donor programmes in Kenya.

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