|Fraud costs Lironga Eparu Global funding, Kamwi|
|Thursday, 27 January 2011 09:12|
HEALTH Minister, Dr Richard Kamwi yesterday said Global Fund withdrew funding from Lironga Eparu because its Executive Director, Emma Tuahepa was linked to the embezzlement of funds by the convicted organisation’s Financial Manager, Peter Itai.
The Minister was reacting to damning accusations made by Tuahepo against the Programme Management Unit (PMU) and the Namibia Coordination Committee on HIV/Aids, TB and Malaria (NACCATUM).|
The HIV/Aids activist accused several officials in the Ministry of Health of dirty dealings.
“The staff have lost their jobs without severance packages because some people are setting up their own HIV/Aids networks to replace Lironga Eparu to benefit themselves from Global Fund’s HIV/Aids grants,” alleged Tuahepa.
PMU and NACCATUM are the principle recipients and managers of funds from Global Fund on behalf of organisations dealing with malaria, tuberculosis and people living with HIV/Aids.
“I’m not going to give up, I will speak out loud against injustices and corruption in PMU and NACCATUM,” said Tuahepa.
Kamwi said, “It is unfortunate that it has come to this. Global Fund allocates free money to people living with HIV, but every penny of it has to be accounted for and that’s why Emma is in trouble. Global Fund warned her that if she continues they will withdraw their funding and that’s what happened”.
Tuahepa accused the Director of PMU, Pamela Uunyango, of leading the plot against Lironga Eparu, assisted by Kahijoro Kahuure, the Permanent Secretary of Health and Social Services. “PMU and NACCATUM are corrupt,” alleged Tuahepa.
“On one occasion, they disregarded our board’s decision when we screened applicants for a consultancy tender on strategic planning advertised in the newspaper. PMU rejected our recommendation, withdrew money from our account and awarded a tender worth N$200,000 to Andrew Harris of Anpris Trading Enterprise, without following any tender procedures.”
Apparently Uunyango gave the tender to Harris, who is a friend to her secretary, Jeanette Putter.
Both Uunyango and her secretary refused to comment on the allegations despite making the Informanté reporters wait for almost an hour at their offices.
Meanwhile, Harris described the allegations as nonsense, “PMU and NACCATUM found Lironga Eparu’s recommendation as not satisfactory. I submitted my tender and got the job.”
Kamwi said the ministry tried to convince her that she relinquishes her position as Executive Director and still play a role in Lironga Eparu, but she and the board refused to play a more reconciliatory role before Global Fund’s ultimatum.
Tuahepa alleged that PMU and NACCATUM diverted grants aimed for the prevention of malaria and tuberculosis to pay for their hefty salaries.
Uunyango reportedly took away one of the two vehicles from Lironga Eparu and gave it away, before Lironga Eparu was disbanded and stripped of all assets. The remaining vehicle was taken away last week by Global Fund.
Tuahepa also accuses the PS of masterminding the dismissal of Lironga Eparu’s representatives on the NACCATUM board (Tuahepa and Moses Ikanga), which she saw as blatant political interference in an organisation dealing with HIV.
Kahuure referred all comments to Kamwi who said Tuahepa’s allegations were like an anonymous letter from a whistle-blower. “Why did she not bring this information to the Ministry so that we can expose these allegations? Why didn’t she come to me, she knows me?” asked Kamwi.
NACCATUM secretary, Johanna Nashandi, said they tried on several occasions to solve the issue regarding Lironga Eparu.
“Global Fund sees to it that funds given are managed responsibly and are used for the right cause. We had several meetings on Lironga Eparu, trying to solve the matter, but it’s unfortunate that it has come to this,” said Nashandi.