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Regional News Wed, 28 May 2003

CBOs Accuse DCE of Politicising Aids Funds

Tepa (B/A) -- Some Community Based Organisations (CBOs) operating in the Ahafo Ano North have accused the District Chief Executive (DCE) of the district for politicising the Ghana AIDS funds meant for AIDS campaign programmes initiated by the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC).

One of such CBOs who accused the DCE, Mr. Adu Poku, is the Bohoban AIDS FOUNDATION (BAF), based at Mabang in the Ahafo Ano North of the Ashanti.

Disclosing this to Chronicle, the chairman of the foundation, Mr. Kyei Sarpong, said the DCE had warned the officer in charge of the AIDS programme not to accept their group's budget proposals on the grounds that he the chairman is an NDC activist.

Before issuing the warning to the officer who was acting on behalf of the focal person who also doubled as the budget officer for the assembly, the DCE met Mr. Sarpong at the reception of the assembly and questioned him as to what he wanted there.

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On replying him that he was presenting a budget proposal, the DCE said "we shall not receive yours, because if it were your people (NDC), you would keep the monies to yourselves and not announce it."

According to Mr. Kyei, he thought the DCE was joking and therefore did not take it seriously and sent it to the focal person's representative.

"To my surprise, when I submitted the proposal, the officer, a National Service personnel, rejected it, asking me to go and trash things out with the DCE before he could accept the proposal."

Mr. Kyei left the document at the office of the District AIDS Committee (DAC) and went to the house. The following day when he returned, the focal person still insisted that he should go and see the DCE. According to Mr. Kyei, he told the focal officer to keep the proposal, because Mr. Adu Poku (the DCE) had already taken his stand.

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He told Chronicle that he again urged him to accept the document or he would leave it with them. But they were insistent so he left the proposal with them and finally went away.

"True to the words of the DCE, the funds for the third call came without ours being considered," said Mr. Kyei. According to him, he reported the politicization of the AIDS Fund to the presiding member of the assembly, who expressed his sadness on the issue.

Mr. Kyei revealed that DAC demanded ?100,000 from each of the AIDS campaign groups, but his group paid only ?50,000. He revealed that he later he came for his money, since the DCE told him not to waste his resources on the proposal.

Reacting to the allegation in an interview with Chronicle, he indicated that some people think the Ghana AIDS Fund is free of charge and therefore they want to take the money for their diabolic acts and enrich themselves.

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Mr. Adu Poku however stressed that he does not handle the AIDS Funds but a team called District Response Initiative (RPI), now DAC, in the area which campaigns on the need to form the CBOs and also oversees the activities of them.

He added that the funds are being handled by the Ghana AIDS Commission and the district assemblies only monitor the funds when disbursed.

So far, according to the DCE, two calls (phases) have been catered for by the AIDS Commission.

The third call in which the Bohoban group is included, is yet to receive their funds, adding, he cannot understand why Mr. Kyei and his group are accusing him of rejecting theirs.

The DCE stated that looking at things, the Bohoban group had already disqualified themselves, due to the way their chairman behaved.

The DCE explained that so far, the first call had 67 CBOs approved and they received a total of ?125 million and the second call had eight groups approved.

The third call, as revealed by Mr. Adu Poku, has only six to eight groups selected, waiting for the release of their funds.

"Monies for the second call have not yet been received though proposals have been submitted for almost six months now."

Source: Chronicle