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Global Fund to Make Losses Public

Fri, 05/13/2011 - 5:07am
JOHN HEILPRIN,Associated Press

 

GENEVA (AP) — A multibillion-dollar fund that fights three killer diseases said Friday that it will make public more detailed information about money it has lost to corruption and mismanagement, but won't release other details critics have sought.

The board of the $22 billion Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria met this week to address a backlash among major donors over revelations by The Associated Press that the fund's internal watchdog was turning up losses of tens of millions of dollars of grant money.

Board members decided to publish detailed accounting of losses and money recovered, the fund said, in an effort to distinguish between fraud and other problems such as poor accounting.

The fund will not, however, provide other details from internal investigations that might have made it possible to calculate how much of the money investigated is lost to corruption, or what percentage of the fund's overall disbursements are misspent.

"There is a danger that the most negative of the figures reported could be used to create a misleading and sensationalized image which would overstate the extent of the problem and cause significant damage to the reputation of the Global Fund," the board said, "or the most positive of the figures would be used to down play the seriousness of the problems we are dealing with."

In January, the AP reported that the fund was losing tens of millions of dollars to mismanagement and corruption. Germany, the European Commission and Denmark are now withholding euro315 million ($457 million) in funding, pending reviews of the fund's internal controls.

The fund also is not making public an internal chart obtained by AP showing that in 12 nations where internal investigations reviewed almost $576 million in spending, an average of 8 percent was lost to fraud, undocumented or unauthorized spending.

The fund's communications office has provided AP with other documents showing fund losses of almost $53 million. Inspector General John Parsons says his office has identified even more losses above that amount, but will not provide details.

 

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