According to a news report by Agence France Presse (AFP), a series of emails recently released by the U.S. State Department from the period when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State contradict claims by the Global Fund that Michel Kazatchkine’s resignation as Executive Director in March 2012 had nothing to do with allegations that the Fund awarded a $2.8 million contract without proper procurement procedures having been followed.
The emails were written by U.S. officials.
The contract related to services to support the Born HIV Free campaign in 2010, in which Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the Global Fund's unpaid Ambassador for Protecting Women and Children Against AIDS, and wife of the President of France, featured prominently.
The allegations first surfaced a few months before Kazatchkine resigned. At the time, Simon Bland, the chair of the Global Fund said that all procurement procedures for the contract had been handled correctly. He also said that the allegations were not a factor in the events that led to Kazatchkine’s resignation. GFO reported on the allegations and on the chair’s statements here.
The Clinton emails quoted Eric Goosby, who was then U.S. global AIDS coordinator, as saying that “the French and EC (European Commission) representative threw [Michel Kazatchkine] under the bus when the board chair presented a letter to the board from the [Chief Financial Officer] that referred to unapproved funds at $2.8 million for FLO Fr” (a reference to Bruni-Sarkozy as first lady of France). “We had the votes anyway after the personnel review but this made it unanimous,” Goosby is quoted as saying in the emails.
In its article, GFO cited several Board members as saying that an assessment of Kazatchkine’s performance “contained strong criticisms of his performance as a manager.”
The Global Fund declined GFO’s invitation to comment on this article.