Not a great reflection on a country when you cannot trust the state’s appointed agents!

AFP 14th November 2012

A major international aid fund has accused Cambodia of “serious” corruption in the use of money intended to combat malaria and other life-threatening diseases.

The UN-backed Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria said a probe into the use of grants “uncovered credible and substantive evidence of serious financial wrongdoing, on procurement and other issues”.

In a statement late Wednesday, it said it had taken swift action to tackle the graft problem. But it said it would maintain support to Cambodia so as not to derail efforts to halt the spread of drug-resistant malaria.

The mismanaged money amounts to under $1 million and was allocated to Cambodian officials to spend on anti-malaria programmes, said a source with knowledge of the investigation, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Cambodia’s Health Minister Mam Bunheng told AFP he had no knowledge of the corruption claims. “I have not received information about it,” he said, declining to comment further.

The Geneva-based Global Fund said it would continue giving money to Cambodia, a country on the frontline of the battle against drug-resistant malaria.

But it is expected to find a recipient other than the government’s National Malaria Centre to handle the next multi-million dollar grant.