Germany Asks Aid Community to Join in Independent Review of Global Fund Programs

German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Dirk Niebel. Photo by: Kowalke / Liberale / CC BY-NC-ND

The German government is inviting international organizations to join in a review of programs supported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in some of the most corruption-prone countries, after media reports suggested that the internationally funded global health organization was wasting funds abroad.

Germany has also asked the Global Fund to review all of its 112 grant recipient programs around the world.

The Global Fund has countered fraud allegations published late last month by the Associated Press, pointing to its stringent audits and “long-term plan to ensure that the Global Fund remains fully capable of detecting and preventing fraud and corruption.”

>> Global Fund: Grant Misuse Report Reveals Nothing New

Other development experts have spoken out in support of the Global Fund, noting that its anti-fraud measures were among the strongest in the industry. But several countries, among them Sweden and Germany, have said they would withhold contributions to the fund pending a review of the allegations. 

>> Germany Suspends Global Fund Contributions

German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Dirk Niebel met Jan. 31 with Global Fund officials, asking them to review all 112 programs - not just those mentioned by the media - and to take immediate steps to prevent waste and corruption.

Also, Germany is inviting other donors and aid groups to participate in a separate “external, independent” review of a selection of Global Fund activities in some of the most corruption-prone countries, focused in particular on high-risk areas such as travel reimbursement, training, per diem pay and medical treatment. In a Jan. 31 press release, Niebel noted that money from the Global Fund often flows directly to a recipient government, suggesting that actions by recipient governments would be subject of the review.

Niebel said he expects this review to be completed by June. According to Niebel, Germany will make a decision about its 2011 contributions to the Global Fund based on the review’s findings.

An Associated Press report released last week cited four African countries - Djibouti, Mali, Mauritania and Zambia - where Global Fund grant misuse had allegedly taken place.

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    Rolf Rosenkranz

    Rolf Rosenkranz oversees a talented team of in-house journalists, correspondents and guest contributors located around the globe. Since joining Devex in early 2008, Rolf has been instrumental in growing its fledgling news operation into the leading online source for global development news and analysis. Previously, Rolf was managing editor at Inside Health Policy, a subscription-based news service in Washington. He has reported from Africa for the Johannesburg-based Star and its publisher, Independent News & Media, as well as the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, a German daily.