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Sweden sacks aid agency chief in major overhaul

TT/The Local · 27 May 2010, 11:02

Published: 27 May 2010 09:48 GMT+02:00
Updated: 27 May 2010 11:02 GMT+02:00

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Development aid minister Gunilla Carlsson on Thursday announced a reorganisation of Sida and appointed Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, former head of Save the Children Sweden, to lead the agency in the interim.

"I am very happy that we have been able to recruit Charlotte Petri Gornitzka as interim general-director," Gunilla Carlsson said in a press conference on Thursday.

The leadership of Sida will be soon be further strengthened by the appointment of Bo Netz, who is currently a department secretary and former acting head of treasury's budget division.

The decision to reorganise Sida's leadership was announced by the government earlier on Thursday morning and the minister used the mid-morning press conference to comment on the reasons behind the decision.

"In order to ensure that Sida will overcome its high-profile business, economic and organizational shortcomings, the government has today decided on measures to ensure an efficient and effective authority."

The minister penned a deeply critical article on the Newsmill website on Wednesday arguing that Swedish development aid suffers from comprehensive structural problems.

"Unfortunately I have misjudged the extent of the development aid agency's challenges. The Alliance government's restructuring of Swedish development aid must therefore be intensified and the control of Sida has to be reinforced. To achieve the ambition of a development aid which optimises its benefits, full-scale changes are required."

According to Carlsson the straw which broke the camel's back was when it emerged that Swedish funds had been involved in corruption and fraud within the Zambian health sector over the course of several years, without the agency drawing attention to the problem.

Story continues below…

Swedish National Audit Office (Riksrevisionen) has criticised Sida in both 2008 and 2009 for inadequate control of development aid to, among other countries, Zambia and Tanzania. The office was furthermore critical of the government for its lack of management of the agency and Gunilla Carlsson promised then to address the issue.

Sida has been battling with its finances for several years and in 2009 was obliged to seek the help of the National Financial Management Authority (Ekonomistyrningsverket - ESV) to bring order to its income and expenditure.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:02 May 27, 2010 by sweco1
Look like the same old same stuff for, why is there not a more Scandinavian person forwarded to this post.

Just because she come from the Save the Children fund does not mean she is trust worthy, she might be dirty to the marrow!

I smell a rat!
11:07 May 27, 2010 by stenhuggaren

then take your head out of the gutter.
11:29 May 27, 2010 by peropaco
@sweco1, in your opinion, what is a more Scandinavian person?
13:27 May 27, 2010 by sweco1
Someone you can trust?

Why don't you wake up to what is really going on!

So who can you trust these days.

Its the same old bull.

They take down a dirty member of the Sida correctly with evidence. And now what I consider a very dirty current Swedish government clean house in Sida but how do you know they are not taking out the clean and putting back more dirty people. What evidence do they have to take out the current head of Sida I bet none.

I think I am right on target. It is not so simple a matter.
17:14 May 27, 2010 by cogito
Sida's main purpose is to provide a long golf holiday in a warm climate for friends of whichever party is in power.

The secondary purpose is to dole out funds to corrupt dictators.

Your tax krona at work.
23:15 May 27, 2010 by wyntha
Gunilla Carlsson has done the right thing and shows a determination to tidy up an organisation that has wasted millions of Swedish taxpayers money on aid projects over the years that simply haven't delivered. And she wants to tidy up the mess as fast as possible so as soon as she got the confirmation from the auditors that things were seriously wrong in the way SIDA was operating and that the culture within SIDA stank she took action. I look forward to see what the next steps are. I'd like to see a slimmed down organisation with a focussed and well defined aid programme and where the aid projects run are outsourced to UNDP and other organisations who are more professional and knowledgeable than the current SIDA is.
01:14 May 28, 2010 by kzjh72
It's a risk that SIDA is beyond repair after decades of corruption, badly run projects and highly paid bureaucrats. Maybe it's better to shut it down all together and start afresh with a new aid organisation focused on education and mentor type of support. Based on the principle behind the old saying: "Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime".
15:33 May 28, 2010 by Alejandro Carlos
This seems to be a vendetta by the minister, Nordstrom is known world wide to be a truly honest man dedicated to improving the lives of people in the developing world.... The problems of corruption cannot be attributed to him....but to those who receive the aid.... I find it interesting that Sweden which portrays itself to be the example of democracy declares someone guilty without a trial......Shame on the Swedish government .... Time will revindicate honest brokers like Anders Nordstrom.
17:32 May 28, 2010 by fritton
How ironic then that Ms. Carlsson and Mr. Borg will be hosting the oh so cutely titled ABCDE (that's the Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics) in Stockholm from 31 May to 2 June. They could save themselves time and us a lot of tax payers money by simply sending invited participants copies of Dambisa Moyo's "Dead Aid" and Linda Polman's "War Games" and telling them not to come. Then Ms. Carlsson should start implementing Ms. Moyo's recommendations starting with the abolition of SIDA.
04:11 May 29, 2010 by Ron Pavellas
If SIDA has been sending any money to Africa, it has been wasted.

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