- Zimbabwean government is accused of misusing US$ 7.3 million to fight Aids and other diseases, international aid agency has reported.
Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria said it wants $7.3 million back from $12.3 million it deposited into Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank last year for distribution of medicines.
Fund's Inspector general John Parsons, said government of president Robert Mugabe spent donation on other things and has failed to reimburse the organisation.
"The action by Mr Mugabe's government has deprived organisation of needed resources and damaged efforts to expand life-saving treatment," he said.
Analysts said dispute by global fund, threatens another request by president Robert Mugabe's government for an additional US$400 million in health care funds.
Communications director Jon Liden said Zimbabwean government promised to return money by Thursday. The fund decides Friday whether to grant Zimbabwe's request for more funds.
Local media reports said Mr Mugabe's government has promised to return US$7.3 million by Thursday.
"On Friday fund's board was to decide whether to grant a Zimbabwean government request for about US$400 million in additional funds," he said.
Mr Liden said he could not predict what fund's board would decide on, but stated that Zimbabwe's behavior was intolerable, saying it frustrate country's efforts to secure donor funding.
"At this stage we do not have confidence in reserve bank's ability to release the money when needed, so we have demanded that all money be released immediately," Mr Linden said.
The money was intended to train thousands of health workers to distribute the malaria cure, medicine that is already available but sits on shelves, according to reports.
Zimbabwe has one of the world's worst Aids epidemics, a collapsing health infrastructure and a growing hunger crisis.
Mr Mugabe, who has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980, blames Western sanctions against his government for his country's extreme economic crisis. But, critics point to corruption and mismanagement under his increasingly autocratic leadership.
Other aid groups have reported difficulties assessing their own funds once they are deposited in Zimbabwe's central bank. They, like Zimbabwean businesses and ordinary residents, are subject to limits on cash withdrawals and shortages of Zimbabwean dollar as the economy collapsed.
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