Inquiry Into Alleged Mismanagement of Ugandan Global Fund Grants Has Revealed "Pile of Filth," Commission Head Says
April 4, 2006
The Ugandan commission investigating the alleged mismanagement of Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria grants has heard assertions of inflated expenditures, inaccurate receipts and improper allocation of funds, amounting to what head of the commission James Ogoola recently called a "pile of filth," PlusNews reports (PlusNews, 4/3). The Global Fund in August 2005 announced the suspension of five grants to Uganda worth $367 million after an audit of one of the grants by PricewaterhouseCoopers found evidence of mismanagement by the Ugandan Ministry of Health's Project Management Unit, which was established to implement the grants. The government later that month appointed a four-member commission to investigate the allegations and brought in international accounting and auditing firm Ernst & Young to take over temporary management of the country's AIDS funding from PMU (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/1/05). The Global Fund in November 2005 resumed funding to Uganda after signing an agreement with the Ugandan Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development that strengthened the oversight of programs receiving funds (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/11/05). Senior government officials, including Health Minister Jim Muhwezi and state ministers for health Mike Mukula and Alex Kamugisha, have denied any misconduct, and the commission has not finished its investigation. However, Ogoola during Muhwezi's testimony told the minister, "The affairs of the state have gone singularly wrong under your stewardship. ... The body and essence of the Ministry of Health in general and the Global Fund in particular have been corrupted to the core under your political leadership" (PlusNews, 4/3). The Ugandan government last week said it has established an account in the Central Bank where those found to have misappropriated funds would be ordered to refund the money (PlusNews, 4/3).
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