Buhari Orders Probe of Global Health Fund Grants
President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe the alleged diversion of several millions of dollars grant received from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) between 2010 and 2014.
Minister of health, Isaac Adewole, said President Buhari gave the directive on Monday as part of his government’s effort and commitment to the fight against corruption.
GFATM, recently announced it was suspending its intervention in Nigeria to combat HIV and malaria, following the discovery of widespread fraud running into several millions of dollars in the management of the grant.
The organisation, which is the highest donor to Nigeria in terms of HIV and malaria, said over its audit of the $1.4 billion grant to the country showed that over $20 million was unaccounted for.
Executive Director of GFATM, Mark Dybul, had appealed to Buhari help probe the alleged misappropriation of the fund
“The audit report on Nigeria covered US$889 million of Global Fund grants, and found systemic weakness in the controls in various government entities,” he said.
“The investigation report found fraud and collusion in the amount of US$3.8 million.”
According to him, Dybul said the audit which reviewed multiple grants between 2013 and 2015, identified significant problems with internal controls relating to procurement conducted by government agencies like the National Agency for Control of AIDS (NACA) and the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP).
The audit identified $20 million as expenditure for which NACA was unable to provide supporting documentation.
According to the Cable, a statement by the director of media and public relation in the ministry of health, stated that “Mr President assured members of the international community that all funds received by Nigeria would be well utilised and accounted for under his watch to avoid national embarrassment.
“The President further said that all indicted officials would be given a fair hearing and those found guilty would be sanctioned to serve as deterrent to others.”
According to the statement, Buhari has directed secretary to the government of federation, Babachir David Lawal, to review earlier audit reports from the office of the inspector-general of police.
Consequently, the SGF is said to have set up two high-powered investigative panels, which were expected to submit their reports within four weeks.
The first panel headed by Adewole is expected to conduct a review of all programmes, while a second panel chaired by Samuel Ukura, auditor-general of the federation, will review all financial transactions during the period.
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