9 Jul 2014

Oil company entrusted with PNG AIDS funds

2:22 pm on 9 July 2014

Some foreign-funded HIV and AIDS programmes in Papua New Guinea have been taken away from government control, with agencies entrusting their money with a company, Oil Search.

Australia's Fairfax reports says the Global Fund was funding the programmes by making direct donations to the PNG government, but stopped the payments after an investigation uncovered the misuse of nearly 1.4 million US dollars.

Oil Search will now administer the fund, but the company's CEO, Peter Botten, says he prefers to say the company is in partnership with the government.

It is believed to be one of only two instances in the world - the other is Shell in the Philippines - in which a company rather than a government has been entrusted with administering the fund's payments.

HIV and AIDS cases in PNG are the worst in the Pacific and at epidemic levels, but not as bad as in sub-Saharan Africa.