What institutions can you trust these days with your donations? The Associated Press reported today that the $21.7 billion Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is a fraud where at least two-thirds of the funds were “pocketed,” and donated medicines were sold on the black market for profit.
The prestigious development fund is backed by celebrities like Bono, politicians like French president Sarkozy, and a cool $150 million from Bill and Melinda Gates. The AP wrote, “The fund has been a darling of the power set that will hold the World Economic Forum in the Swiss mountain village of Davos this week.”
Although many of the contributors to this fund likely had good intentions for their donation, it seems that funds of this size are too-big-to-succeed and are ripe for corruption. The fund spokesman, Jon Liden, said, “We would contend that we do not have any corruption problems that are significantly different in scale or nature to any other international financing institution.”
In other words, their benchmark is staying on par with the corruption levels of other major institutions around the world, which, more than anything, is an indictment of any large organization run by the establishment.
Seeking to save their reputation, the fund’s general inspector John Parsons claims that it is safe to donate to them above other charities because they have a corruption investigation mechanism where others do not. So, we should donate our hard-earned money to them precisely because they are proven fraudsters, versus others who successfully hide their fraud.
In a stunning reversal of blame, the article ends with Homi Kharas, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former chief economist at the World Bank, chastising people who withhold donations: “But just simply withdrawing donations, I do believe, would condemn millions of people who are not involved in the corruption to terrible fates.”