- George Zimmerman will not be charged in domestic dispute
- Russian officials press bilateral U.S. trade deal
- Selfies at Funerals blog creator retires after Obama flub: ‘Our work here is done’
- New Obama adviser Podesta is against Keystone but will steer clear of pipeline deliberations
- 40 Australian adults, children found in ‘one of the worst accounts of incest ever made public’
- Venezuela’s Maduro calls on student ‘price vigilantes’ to hit the streets, report businesses
- Atheists smug as Hindus join Satanists to demand display at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Bow before Valkyrie, NASA’s ‘superhero robot’ entry in DARPA challenge
- 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy suspended for pretend bow-and-arrow shooting
- Budget deal exposes GOP divisions; conservatives slam tax hikes, vague cuts
AP Exclusive: Millions in malaria drugs stolen
Question of the Day
LONDON (AP) - A global health fund believes millions of dollars worth of its donated malaria drugs have been stolen in recent years, vastly exceeding the levels of theft previously suspected, according to confidential documents obtained by The Associated Press.
The internal investigation by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria comes two months into a new anti-corruption program that the fund launched after an AP report detailing fraud in their grants attracted intense scrutiny from donors.
In internal documents detailing drug thefts, officials identified 13 countries, mostly in Africa, where millions of dollars worth of malaria drugs have gone missing. According to the reports, drug theft in which donated drugs are sold on the black market “appears to be on the rise and (is) becoming increasingly sophisticated.”
The reports were provided to the AP by an official with a different health organization, who did so on condition of anonymity because he was granted confidential access to the documents by a Global Fund staffer.
Global Fund spokesman Jon Liden confirmed the fund suspects $2.5 million worth of malaria drugs were stolen from Togo, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Swaziland and Cambodia, dating mainly from 2009 to 2011, but with some cases going further back. He said investigations are under way to determine how much more was stolen elsewhere.
“We take this very seriously and we will do what it takes to protect our investment,” he said.
An AP report in January exposed high rates of misappropriated money in some Global Fund grants and bruised the reputation of the multibillion-dollar fund, backed by big names including Bono and Bill Gates and hailed as an alternative to the bureaucracy of the United Nations.
But the fact that these revelations have come to light at all may be due to stricter self-policing and greater transparency at the Global Fund, compared with other aid organizations.
Malaria infects more than 250 million people every year, killing about 1 million, the vast majority of whom are children in Africa. Because there is a huge demand for malaria drugs, which are widely available at pharmacies and on private markets, they are easier to sell than drugs for other diseases like AIDS, which are mainly handed out at health clinics.
After discovering the scope of the malaria drug thefts, the new Global Fund documents indicate the fund took prompt action, suspending grants for medicines to be stored at government warehouses in Swaziland and Malawi.
Other than the drugs confirmed stolen in Togo, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Swaziland and Cambodia, specific dollar figures were not available for the other nine countries, all in Africa and including Nigeria and Kenya, where the Global Fund has large programs. The fund singled out a $200 million contract for malaria drugs in Tanzania in which it suspects theft took place. It listed the theft at more than $1 million but said “the potential cost of the misappropriation is not yet quantified.”
The audits that the AP wrote about in January suggested that tens of thousands of dollars worth of malaria drugs are stolen every year.
The Global Fund’s inspector general said in a report to its board of directors late last year that it was beginning to investigate allegations of “organized theft of anti-malarial drugs” in African countries, after discovering that drugs were ending up on store shelves in African countries instead of going to the intended recipients for free.
The new documents obtained by the AP _ which are the results of that investigation _ show that in about 70 percent of cases, the drugs were stolen at government-operated warehouses by security personnel, warehouse managers and doctors.
“The cases show that drug misappropriations are well-organized and predominantly planned by insiders using falsified documents,” one of the reports said. The documents also state that pilfered drugs are being shipped to other countries for resale, often within hours of their arrival.
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
- Rand Paul: Budget deal 'shameful,' 'huge mistake'
- Teen thugs in D.C. run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
- KIBBE: Another Republican budget surrender
- Study IDs reasons for late-term abortions
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Obama administration blasts GOP for criticism of Castro handshake
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- Obama's antics at Nelson Mandela tribute: Jovial conversation, handshake with Raul Castro
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- VEGAS RULES: Harry Reid pushed feds to change ruling for casino's big-money foreigners
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Interviews and show reviews from the Los Angeles punk scene past and present. Los Angeles has always been rich in punk rock talent since punk rock was born.
Buzz on Bees is a column promoting the love and life of God’s greatest pollinators on earth: The Honeybee
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
A libertarian look at breaking news and political trends by author Tom Mullen.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow