06 October 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.
An investigation by the Office of the Inspector General found US$2.21 million of funds, used for irregular procurement transactions between 2005 and 2010, did not comply with grant agreements in Mali.
The Global Fund has already put in place corrective actions to prevent this from happening again including centralizing procurement processes to reduce the risk of collusion, the introduction of fiscal agents to verify the authenticity of bidders, and zero-cash policies at grant sub-recipient level. The Global Fund is also seeking to recover the misused sums from the responsible parties.
The investigation covered the largest grant to Mali of US$ 45.2 million, earmarked for the expansion of prevention and care networks for HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections in the capital and across the country. The investigators found irregularities in 357 procurement transactions by the Haut Conseil National de Lutte contre le Sida (HCNLS), a former Principal Recipient of Global Fund grants, and its sub-recipients, and sub sub-recipients in Mali at the time.
Quotations submitted to the recipients by different suppliers showed strong similarities in format and content with identical spelling mistakes, product descriptions and prices. Some suppliers confirmed that the quotations submitted in their name were fabricated using standard templates. The investigators concluded that staff at the grant recipients would have known, in part or in full, about the collusion and irregularities.
HCNLS and a number of its sub-recipients and sub sub-recipients are also members of the Mali Country Coordinating Mechanism, a multi-stakeholder partnership responsible for developing and submitting grant proposals to the Global Fund. As a result, the Global Fund is seeking to improve representation of various parties within the Country Coordinating Mechanism including the introduction of a strong conflict of interest policy.
The Global Fund has made commitments to the Republic of Mali under 12 grants and through seven Principal Recipients. Between 2003 and 30 June 2010, when the investigation fieldwork started, disbursements totaled US$ 71.8 million. Up to 30 June 2014, Mali has received US$ 156 million in total funding from the Global Fund. 28,000 people are currently on antiretroviral therapies, 19,000 new smear-positive tuberculosis cases have been detected and treated and 1.1 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.