17 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.
OIG investigators identified fraud and procurement irregularities involving Global Fund grants in Burundi between 2007 and 2011. A supplier of medical products, Diagnostic, submitted forged certificates, overcharged and delivered equipment to the Principal Recipient that did not meet bid specifications. The OIG also found that the grant recipient bought unapproved HIV Rapid Diagnostic Test Kits from another supplier, Bio-Rad. As a result, the Global Fund is seeking to recover US$ 283,068 and has put in place stronger procurement processes at the recipient level.
Between 2010 and 2011, the Principal Recipient of Global Fund grants to Burundi, the Secrétariat Exécutif Permanent du Conseil National de Lutte contre le SIDA (SEP/CNLS), procured refrigerators, freezers and warehouse services from Diagnostica. The OIG investigation found that SEP/CNLS changed the specifications of the refrigerators from those agreed with the Global Fund and that the bid was neither competitive nor transparent. The OIG also found that SEP/CNLS paid approximately double the market price for the refrigerators resulting in unwarranted costs of US$ 144,021 to the Global Fund.
From 2007 to 2010, SEP/CNLS procured Genscreen™ Ultra and Genie III HIV Rapid Diagnostic Test Kits from Bio-Rad at a cost of US$ 121,047. This test was contrary to the Global Fund grant agreement and procurement plan which specified the WHO approved Genscreen™ Plus and Genie II tests.
The investigation also found that SEP/CNLS rented a warehouse from Diagnostica from February 2011 to January 2013 at a cost of US$ 18,000. This cost was unapproved by the Global Fund and did not go through a competitive tender process.
As well as seeking to recover the misspent sums, the Global Fund has already strengthened procurement processes including outsourcing to the Global Fund Pooled Procurement Mechanism and implementing a fiscal agent to review all purchases. The Global Fund will also initiate the Sanctions Panel process against the supplier Diagnostica.
As at 30 June 2014, the Global Fund has made commitments under 11 grants to the Republic of Burundi totaling US$ 202.07 million, of which US$ 189.84 million has been disbursed. Currently, 33,000 people are on antiretroviral therapy, 41,600 new smear-positive tuberculosis cases have been detected and treated and 8.2 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.