CSOs call for review operation on Global funds in Malawi

Lilongwe: Civil Society Consultative Forum has called for a review of operations of the country’s management of the global funds after citing alleged anomalies and mismanagement by Action Aid as the country’s recipient.

The call was made Friday during a press briefing of members of National Civil Society Consultative Forum and Journalists in Lilongwe.

In 2015, the Global Funds made a decision to kick out National Aids Commission (NAC) as the country’s recipient of global funds.

Action aid was picked as the country’s recipient for the funds instead in bid to ensure efficiency and effectiveness.

Speaking during a press briefing, chairperson for National Civil Society Consultative Forum on Global funds, Lucky Crown Mbewe, said CSOs noted alleged gross mismanagement of the funds such as cases of fraud and lack of capacity within Action Aid as recipient of the global funds, hence the call to revert the funds to NAC.

We are saddened since Action Aid became recipient of the global funds, every year Malawi has been returning money to the Global Fund due to lack of absorption capacity, yet they are failing to fund the NGOs, Mbewe said.

According to Mbewe, there is evidence of fraud and mismanagement of the global funds. Instead of benefiting the local people, there is greater bias towards international institutions, hence the need to probe and question issues when they are wrong.

There are instances where instead of transferring money into sub grantees’ accounts, Action Aid and other Sub Grantees were drawing cash and giving it to implementers, which raise a big question of accountability, he worried.

We have tried to engage Action Aid in the process, but we haven’t seen anything tangible to address the issue.

Our demands are to review the position of the current local recipient of the Global Fund and revert to NAC, reconstitute the global funds’ country mechanism and ACB to probe Action Aid in the management of the funds and its beneficiaries among other things, said Mbewe.

The Civil Society Consultative Forum noted that Action Aid is a UK charity organisation and that the British Government does not take a hard stance on the fraud and mismanagement aspects, saying if it was a local NGO, it could have been blacklisted.

In response during a separate interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana), Head of Fundraising and Communication for Action Aid- Malawi, Tiwonge Kumwenda refuted the funds mismanagement allegation, saying the accusation was blank.

Action Aid has no knowledge on the alleged issue of gross mismanagement of funds, fraud and lack of capacity as far as the implementation of global fund grant is concerned. The CSOs did not engage us for questioning, Kumwenda responded.

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA