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Sweden refuses health aid due to corruption

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Sweden refuses health aid due to corruption
Sweden's Development Minister Gunilla Carlsson
09:16 CET+01:00
Sweden has announced that it will not pay its 1.5 billion kronor ($226 million) contribution to the global fund to fight AIDS unless more is done to ensure the cash does not fall into the wrong hands, a report said Saturday.

Michel Kazatchkine, the executive director of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, said that Sweden's refusal to meet its commitments would have a major impact on his organisation's plans.

However, after talks with Kazatchkine in Stockholm on Friday, Development Minister Gunilla Carlsson said that Sweden felt more had to be done to prevent its cash falling victim to corruption among recipient countries.

"We are paying greater heed to the danger of corruption so before we commit ourselves to aid, we want to see practical measures put in place to combat this problem," Carlsson told newspaper Svenska Dagbladet on Saturday.

According to the paper, Sweden has refused to stump up its 1.5 billion kronor contribution for the period covering 2011 to 2013 since a report by the United Nations last year showed how donors' cash had been diverted by corrupt officials in at least four countries.

Sweden is the biggest per-capita contributor to the fund, which was created by the G8 group of industrialised nations in 2002.

The Swedish contribution "is a significant amount of money for us. The fact that Sweden is stalling on its commitment is not a good sign. We need to know quickly whether we can pour our energies into our aid projects," Kazatchkine was quoted as saying by newspaper.

"We also believe that we have demonstrated a much greater degree of transparency and that we are doing everything that we can to fight corruption," he added.

The fund, which has an overall budget of $21.7 billion drawn from 150 countries, is the largest single source of funding for three of the world's biggest killer diseases.

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