29 September 2014
This investigation report is part of a backlog of cases relating to investigations started before 2012 (so-called ‘legacy cases’) that the Office of the Inspector General is now able to finalize and publish thanks to increased staff headcount.
The Office of the Inspector General investigators found evidence of unapproved expenditures and bidding irregularities for construction contracts awarded by Ghana Health Service, the implementing agency of the Ministry of Health, the Global Fund’s Principal Recipient in the country. Based on the OIG’s findings, the Secretariat is seeking to recover US$ 1.5 million from the Ministry of Health.
The OIG established that, between 2005 and 2011, Ghana Health Service spent US$ 8.2 million from budget savings on the construction of six buildings without approval from the Global Fund. Grant funds were used by Ghana Health Service to award building contracts that had either been single sourced or had undergone a tendering process in which there was collusion between the bidding companies.
The investigation determined that of the US$ 8.2 million spent on construction, US$ 6.7 million was related to structural building costs that can be directly linked back to the goals of the Global Fund programs. The Secretariat has retroactively approved the expenditures for the buildings that house Global Fund financed health programs as it recognizes the importance of supporting the infrastructure of health systems in countries with a high disease burden such as Ghana.
The remaining US$ 1.5 million, that the Global Fund is seeking to recover, was spent on other costs including landscaping, furniture and digital satellite television, which, in addition to being unapproved and unbudgeted, were not competitively tendered.
Following the OIG’s report, the Secretariat has agreed that renovation projects require additional scrutiny and safeguards to prevent collusive practices and the diversion of funds. This includes demonstrable commitment at the highest level of the grant recipient to prevent collusive practices, due diligence of the organizations tendering for renovation/construction projects and robust procedures in place to monitor and review the implementation of contract awards.
The Global Fund has been supporting health programs in Ghana since 2002. Ghana has a severe disease burden for tuberculosis and malaria and a high disease burden for HIV. Currently there are 11 active Global Fund grants: five supporting HIV/AIDS, three supporting tuberculosis and three for malaria. To date, Ghana health programs have received a total of approximately US$ 500 million. 76,000 people are currently on antiretroviral therapy, 68,800 new smear-positive TB cases have been detected and treated and 14 million bed nets have been distributed.
The Office of the Inspector General works to ensure that the Global Fund invests the world’s money in the most effective way possible in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Through audits, investigations, oversight and consultancy work, it makes objective and transparent recommendations to promote good practice, reduce risk and condemn abuse.
Established in 2005, the Office of the Inspector General is an independent yet integral part of the Global Fund. It is accountable to the Board through its Audit and Ethics Committee and serves the interests of all Global Fund stakeholders. Its work conforms to the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing and the Uniform Guidelines for Investigations of the Conference of International Investigators.
The Office of the Inspector General believes that every dollar counts and has zero tolerance for fraud, corruption and waste. Through its whistle-blowing channels, the Office of the Inspector General encourages all to come forward to point out any irregularities that prevent Global Fund resources from reaching those who need them.