The Daily Trust Newspaper today has a shocking front page headline: â€˜N7bn malaria, HIV funds fritteredâ€™ (that’s Naira). This is equivalent to US $475 million. No principal recipient (PR) appears to be left unscathed. Specifically the article leads with the assertion that …
About N7 billion donor funds sent to Nigeria for the fight against malaria, HIV and tuberculosis were frittered away, according to an audit report by the international agency that provided the funds. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) said in a report filed with the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission that beneficiary agencies failed to account for up to $475 million meant to â€œsave livesâ€.
The story is based on a report from the Global Fund’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) who discovered “the fraud in a recent audit of 15 grants amounting to $474,519,260 disbursed between 2003 and 2009 for the purpose of saving lives in the country.” Nigeria has had three GFATM malaria grants over this period.
As is usual though the OIG paints both ‘minor’ accounting problems as well as gross misconduct with the same brush. The most egregious offender appears to be the Yakubu Gowon Centre (YGC). YGC has been a malaria PR since Nigeria received its first GFATM grant and almost lost that grant due to poor performance about five years ago.
Currently YGC is one of three GFATM Round 8 malaria grant PRs.Â In terms of the most current performance ratings, The Society for Family Health was rated B1, The National Malaria Control Program was rated B2, while the YGC received a ‘C’ – the lowest or a failing grade by Global Fund accounting.
The Daily Trust quotes the OIG report The report thus: â€œThe value for money audit report indicates that the Yakubu Gowon Centre for International Cooperation illegally transferred funds outside the country amounting to $15.5million, incurred extra budgetary expenditures of $5.2m, and had undocumented expenditures amounting to $3m. The unretired expenditures of the centre for the period under review amounted to $1.2m, while the management fee not accounted for was $659,000.”
The GFATM progress report says of the YGC performance on the Round 8 malaria grant that the average programmatic performance is 34.7% among all the program targets.Â In fact some states served by the YGC are reporting stock out of malaria drugs much needed for saving lives.
It is certainly good that the IOG identified major misconduct that threatens progress to control malaria. The question is who will pick up the slack in malaria commodity supplies while all this is being sorted out?