AIDS Orphans Denied Education in Zimbabwe as Beam Money is Stolen

AIDS Orphans Denied Education after Beam Money Is Stolen
Now Daily Investigation
Hundreds of thousands of children orphaned by AIDS will not attend school or write examinations in 2016 after donors pulled the rug under government’s feet following reports of massive theft of millions of dollars allocated earlier, Now Daily can exclusively reveal.
Aid officials told Now Daily that government officials had misappropriated up to $45 million donated by Western funders between 2009 and 2012 by direct cash transfers to undeserving students while shutting out orphaned children and those who had lost one parent to AIDS.
The donors have now cut funding to the Basic Education and Assistance Module programme (BEAM) citing lack of accountability.
The government was forced by the donors to conduct an official audit of BEAM after it emerged that only a tiny fraction of the one million children who had lost one or both parents to AIDS were attending school. A comprehensive report was produced showing that the money had been stolen. Auditor-general Mildred Chiri presented the damning report on September 8 2014 to then labour and social services minister Nicholas Goche who totally ignored it, according to ministry sources.
Chiri’s report confirmed the thefts and blasted the BEAM project management unit (PMU) in the labour ministry for corruption and failure to monitor the programme.
“Failure to adequately monitor and supervise the implementation of the programme resulted in undeserving children accessing BEAM funds and failure to submit attendance registers by schools,” Chiri said.
In many cases, children with both working parents who could afford to bribe officials stood a better chance of getting aid, Now Daily found.
A government report seen by this website shows that the BEAM programme received $75 million from donors, treasury and the National AIDS Council between 2009 and 2012. However, $2 million which could have sent 50 000 children to school for a year was returned to the donors after bungling ministry officials failed to disburse it on time. An undisclosed amount was misdirected to undeserving children.
As a result of the thefts, 90 000 children failed to write A’Level examinations in 2010 alone.
The donors are miffed that despite the presence of evidence, the labour ministry has not sacked anyone or instituted criminal proceedings against the culprits. Now Daily was also told by relatives that councillors and selection committee members demanded sex from both orphaned students and their relatives when they tried to register for BEAM.
© Now Media 2016. All Rights Reserved.


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