Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Health is next

Abal demands answers over use of donor funds


ACTING Prime Minister Sam Abal has ordered an investigation into allegations of gross abuse and mismanagement of funds earmarked for Papua New Guinea under the Global Fund for the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic, The National reports.

He directed Health Minister Sasa Zibe, in a letter last week, for an urgent report on the allegations.

He reiterated that if found to contain gross irregularities, abuse and mismanagement, he would instruct for a full inquiry into the administration of the funds.

Adamant to see his undertaking through and to ensure Papua New Guinea safeguarded its credibility as a legi-timate and credible donor-recipient country, Abal had demanded an urgent response from Zibe.

“I have directed the health minister to look into this allegation and report to me immediately on whether the allegation is true,” Abal said.

Abal said: “I am concerned that unless the government takes full cognizance and control of this matter, we stand to lose our legitimacy as a worthy, credible and trusted recipient of international donor aid and technical assistance.

“If unscrupulous persons are involved, they will be identified and dealt with severely.

“Appropriate disciplinary actions will be taken to stop such practices,” the acting prime minister said.

“I want our institutions of government to be good and trusted custodians of financial support being made available to assist PNG by international organisations, charitable groups, governments and philanthropic organisations to help improve our social conditions such as health.”

Global Fund this month decided to select a new principle recipient to carry out some of the financial and administrative responsibilities previously carried out by the Health Department.

This followed allegations that the department was mismanaging the grants.

Abal said: “These are monies meant to complement the government’s own effort to reduce life-threatening scourges and epidemics such as HIV/AIDS that focuses ultimately on making this nation a healthy and progressive nation.

“Monies for purposes such as this must be governed with accountability of purpose.

“As acting Prime Minister, I will not tolerate such practices going on inside government instrumentalities.

“There are enough examples around us and we must seek collective resolve to stop such malpractices once and for all,” Abal said.


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