21 November 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.
Investigators from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found non-compliant spending worth US$ 184,000 in Burundi. The investigation noted a lack of transparency in the procurement of school and nutritional kits using funds from an HIV grant managed by a Global Fund Principal Recipient in Burundi, Réseau Burundais des Personnes Vivant avec le VIH/SIDA (RBP+). The Global Fund is seeking to recover the misspent sums and has strengthened significantly the procurement process involving its grants in Burundi.
The investigation reviewed procurements by 22 of RBP+’s 140 sub-recipients between 2010 and 2011. The OIG found evidence of fraudulent and non-compliant expenditures including fictitious and fraudulent supplier invoices, fabricated supporting documentation for transactions, a fraudulent procurement scheme involving four suppliers and similarities in the handwriting in different supplier invoices to that of recipient employees.
The OIG considers that RBP+’s change in role from sub-recipient to Principal Recipient, together with the large increase in planned disbursements, had an adverse effect on the recipient’s ability to maintain effective oversight over its sub and sub-sub-recipients.
As a result, the Global Fund Secretariat will now monitor all Burundi Principal Recipient oversight controls at sub-recipient level by, for example, establishing lists of pre-qualified and vetted suppliers and updating procurement manuals and procedures to ensure more transparent and competitive tenders. The Global Fund now outsources the procurement of nutritional support packages and their delivery to the World Food Program and has appointed a fiscal agent to the portfolio.
As at 31 August 2014, the Global Fund has made commitments under 11 grants to the Republic of Burundi totaling US$ 227.82 million, of which US$ 191.79 million has been disbursed. There are 33,000 people currently on antiretroviral treatment, 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.