‘NACgate’: Global Fund echoes CSO’s concerns over Malawi’s Aids funds

Despite being accorded the joint principal recipient of Global Funds on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria response in the country alongside Action Aid and World Vision, the Malawi government through the Ministry of Health has been urged by Global Fund to upgrade its weak financial systems on HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB response, Nyasa Times can reveal.

CHRR and Cedep executive directors Timothy Mtambo and Gift Trapence: Petitioned the President over Nacgate

CHRR and Cedep executive directors Timothy Mtambo and Gift Trapence: Petitioned the President over Nacgate

The development comes at a time when the embattled National Aids Commission (NAC), which has lately been embroiled in funding controversies hence under fire from some civil society organisations in Malawi, has been stripped of its long-time status as a principal recipient of Global Fund grants paving way for two international organisations Action Aid and World Vision International to partner with the Ministry of Health as the new principal recipient under the new model.

According to Global Fund’s Country Coordinating Mechanism in Malawi NAC failed to meet the criteria for the funding while Malawi government defended NAC by attributed this to global fund new model.

However, according to sources within the country coordinating mechanism (CCM) told Aidspan Independent Observer of Global Fund that during a recent visit to Malawi on 13th January 2015 -ironically the same day the Civil Society staged nationwide demonstrations over NACGATE, a Global Fund delegation expressed continued concerns about the financial management at the Ministry of Health (MoH), but kept the state body as principal recipient because it is the only agency with the facilities to handle the biomedical component of interventions.

The choice of Ministry of Health, World Vision and Action Aid are said to have preceded the visit by the Global Fund delegation and were done in time for the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s latest window of submission for funding on 30th January.

These concerns echoed in a March 2014 letter from the Global Fund secretariat, in which it was announced that “the overall performance of the current principal recipients have been downgraded to B2 ‘inadequate’ due mainly to weaknesses in financial management, which led to ineligible or unsupported expenditures and delays in external audit”.

External audits conducted for 2011-2012 found some $1.4 million in ineligible or unsupported expenditures. An audit report for 2012-2013 has yet to be completed; there has been no indication of when an audit for financial year 2013-2014 will even be initiated.

Nyasa Times can also reveal that concerns over the need for Malawi government to improve its weak financial management system in the use of HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria dominated the agenda of the recent meeting in Geneva on (19th January 2015) between Global Fund and a high level delegation from Malawi constituting of representatives from Malawi government, civil society and development partners.

According to sources within Global Fund, the Global Fund called on the Malawi government to ‘strengthen implementation arrangements including improving financial management systems and ensure that resources are prioritised for the interventions with greatest impact.

“Amongst the important points that were discussed included more accountability and prudent use of resources targeting the three diseases. “

Malawi has, however, begun to implement public financial management reforms as well as measures to strengthen its procurement and supply chain management systems, as well as installing a fiscal agent at the MoH.

One of the sources also revealed that at the start of the meeting the Global Fund acknowledged receipt of CSOs 13th January 2015 anti-NAGATE demonstrations petition, which is said to have been shared with them, and applauded the Civil Society in Malawi for their continued remarkable role in HIV/AIDS response through their various existing social accountability mechanisms amongst other strategies.

The 13th January 2015 Civil Society petition, which was addressed to the State President, raises concerns over diverting of NAC funding to entities that do not directly deal with HIV/AIDS intervention solely based on political manipulation or abuse in NAC’s HIV/AIDS grant decision making and also questioned NAC’s leadership in promoting fiscal discipline in use of these resources.

To that end, the CSOs demanded government to desist from politically abusing the public institutions, resources and funds for purposes which are contrary to their mandates and not in the best interest of Malawians; the President to dissolve the board of NAC and institute a forensic audit of NAC disbursement of AIDS funds since the time NAC was granted the principle recipient of HIV/AIDS related funds by Global fund; put in place clear steps to ensure that National Aids Commission is no longer susceptible to political abuse and interference; condemn NACGATE and provide assurance to the nation that this shall never happen again in future; initiate the review of NAC policy and procedures on fund disbursement; and also ensure that First Lady’s Beautify Malawi (BEAM) and Mulhakho Wa Alhomwe should refund K5million and K9.4 million respectively to National Aids Commission (NAC) to be used for its intended HIV/AIDS response functions.

The petition also called on government to facilitate the institution of a dialogue platform with civil society organisations and other key stakeholders over the issues raised in the petition within a period of 2 weeks.

However, Nyasa Times can confirm that government is yet to respond to any of the issues relating to NAC as raised in the petition despite the expiry of their set time-frames.

According to an earlier exclusive interview with Nyasa Times, the 13th January 2015 demonstrations Timothy Mtambo all the ultimatums indicated in the petition remain intact and that the Civil Society would be meeting shortly discuss the way forward on those whose time frame has expired.

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15 thoughts on “‘NACgate’: Global Fund echoes CSO’s concerns over Malawi’s Aids funds”

  1. Hakimu Banda says:

    My comment is that I don’t have problem with NAC ED Mr John Bisika.Mr Bisika knows his job.The problem is caused by our politicians who wants to control everything.
    Pliz leave NAC alone Leave Bisika alone.
    He is back we want him to work.

  2. Hakimu Banda says:

    I think experience is great teacher. The new NAC Ed is a man of vision. He is the only member of staff at NAC who worked with Dr Biswick Mwale and there was no any gate of any nature but I blame some people who are fault finders.
    They always want to find fault. We can’t develop as a nation. Malawi needs vibrant leaders like Bisika.He is a man who put HIV and Aids Response on the map.
    My advise is that politicians leave NAC alone. Don’t disturb Bisika. Because the whole problem at NAC had emanated from politicians.

  3. kk says:

    It is you Mtambo and your friend who have forced GLObal Fund to be withdrawn from Malawi, My question to you is> What is your benefit? A lot of people will die and you will be happy that people are dying because of your selfish motives. Do you think the president will be affected with Global fund? Its your brothers and sisters who will be affected.

  4. Kenkkk says:

    Nac is obscenely corrupt and the people of Malawi will now feel better if the two NGOs chosen plus the MoH the handle the Global fund money for aids and the other diseases.

    Big Man, nac has absolutely no experience of running aids programs, its only experience is stealing and distributing nac money to organisations, some of them which have absolutely nothing to do with aids. Bogus proposals became the order of the day by pp and dpp governments.

    With all that money nac should by now have built state of the art aids specialist hospitals or centres in all the three regions of the country. But no just stealing and abusing nac funds while genuine ill people afflicted with aids were being denied help.

    Nac, this dpp govt, beam and Malachi brought this shame on themselves and eventually Global fund had to act. This could have been averted had mlakho and beam refunded the money but they decided instead to be stubborn and selfish ignoring the cries of the nation!!

    We are lucky that global fund still want to help us and this time we should be careful and ensure that the money is purely used on what it was intended and stop the thieving please!!! No bogus or genuine proposals from non-aids organisations should be accepted.

    We need to uplift our country now since we are the poorest on this planet.

  5. zingati zanu says:

    We have failed as a nation. If we loved our country we coudnt allow this to happen.We have suffered an idenity that was Malawi Aids Response through a national program. Shame. Zanu zatengeni

  6. Good riddance!! says:

    I hope the dogs at NAC are not employed at wold vision or action aid, a good research proposal would not get funded by NAC unless the dogs their had been given money in advance or a community activity would not be funded until money had exchanged hands, that explains why even someone who does not have requiste background biomedical training would have research money given to their mediocre research proposal. My research that NAC could not fund was given funds by international donors where wakhwithuism or Mulakhoism does not play a role. The M and E peope at NAC do not have an idea what is happening on the ground, all they wanted was to be out and clain allowances.

  7. Dr Manga says:

    CSOs completely vindicated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Manager says:

    MoH being the only
    agency with the facilities to handle the
    biomedical component of interventions in HIV,Malaria and TB,we expect them to employ more workers wth ths fund.Next news I’d waiting to hear is the that the 13 College of Medicine Lab graduates are employed.

  9. ambele says:

    The other expenditures and donations were illegal. Mulhakho, BEAM, Dausi’s Intelligence unit did not deserve the money, however JB Foundation thou hurriedly given it did write
    a proposal that went the process while the others did not write a proposal but sought
    outright gift from the fund.

  10. Kanyimbi says:

    Kaya zanu izo ine ndili pa MASM komanso negative.

  11. ujeni says:

    Only fools who make up the majority of this poorest country on earth dont understand the concerns raised by CSO because they are so drunk with tribalism and think tribalism will develop poor Malawi

  12. Je Suis NACgate says:

    No.2 BIgMan or whatever you call yourself, can’t you see the contradiction in your own statement? You say NAC has the experience in running these programmes successfully? Why then do you think less experienced NGOs were selected ahead of NAC? You say the donors wanted a combination of government and NGOs, why then was NAC replaced? NAC is a government body, in case your ignorant mind didn’t know. Why was NAC sidelined, despite the experience you claim it has? In our neighboring countries, why is Global Fund still giving money to the National Aids Commissions of those countries?

    And you come here yaviyavi claiming the Mtambos wanted Global Fund to withdraw from Malawi completely! Where did you get that? Combating HIV is a noble cause and nobody has ever called for the stoppage of AIDs funds. The problem was that NAC was using he funds for the wrong purposes…fundin Joyce Banda;s campaign, funding Mulhakho and BEAM and unpatriotic people like you can’t see anything wrong with this. Global Fund has seen this and is going to use international NGOs because they don’t meddle in your third world politics. Unfortunately, some good people at NAC who were not involved in all these malpractices stand the risk of losing their jobs due to lack of funding

  13. Weni weni says:

    Bigman with a small brain.

  14. BigMan says:

    Lets not try and claim victory here, Global Fund has revised the way that it distributes its funds. They require a combination of Govt and NGO principal recipients unlike the past where bodies such as NAC called all the shots. They all applied and Wvision + ActionAid got the job with the third recipient being MOH. It is not Mtambo or Kwataine who have done this, because actually what they were advocating for was the complete withdrawal of funds from Malawi!

    I just hope however that NAC will still have a role because they have experience of running these programs in Malawi successfully. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater would be a terrible mistake.

  15. NAC has abig hole on handsssswaping fund with ‘Personal approval’

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