Mugabe accused of stealing international group’s money

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The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria has given the Robert Mugabe regime up to Thursday to pay back millions of dollars it allegedly “stole to fund Zanu PF violent political activities”

On Monday, the agency said US$7.3 million was misused and its want it back.

The dispute threatens another request by Mugabe’s government for an additional $400 million in health care funds.

Zimbabwe has one of the world’s worst Aids epidemics, a collapsing health infrastructure and a growing hunger crisis.

The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria says $7.3 million of the $12.3 million it deposited into a Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe account last year did not go to fight the three diseases that are devastating southern Africa.

It is not so sure where the money went.

This morning, junior health minister, Dr Edwin Muguti could not say where the money went to. “The money was indeed sent to us but am not at liberty to say where it went to. Ask RBZ officials”

John Linden, spokesman for the group says they now have little faith on the reserve bank’s ability to release the money when needed, “so we have demanded that all the money be released immediately”

Government sources say the Mugabe administration has promised to return the $7.3 million by Thursday. “But where will it get such an amount. It can not print US dollars”. Said a concerned citizen.

The most realistic option is to raid Non- Governmental Organizations’ foreign currency accounts as it did earlier on. Several such organizations stopped operations as they found their accounts with negative balances.

They, like Zimbabwean businesses and ordinary residents, are subject to limits on cash withdrawals and shortages of the Zimbabwean dollar as the economy collapses

Mugabe, 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.

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