12 December 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.
Following an investigation of Global Fund grants in Niger, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is proposing US$2.4 million to be recovered. This sum corresponds to unsupported expenses, mainly from sub-recipients of grants, from 2005 to 2012.
This sum is part of an overall total of US$16.8 million that was not spent in compliance with Global Fund grant agreements over this period. The remaining US$14.4 million of non-compliant expenditure stems mainly from a procurement of bed nets in 2008. Despite insufficient transparency and a conflict of interest in the bidding process, the OIG found that the bed nets were reasonably priced and successfully distributed. As a result, the OIG is not proposing that this sum be reimbursed.
The investigation focused on two Principal Recipients – Coordination Intersectorielle de Lutte contre le Sida (CISLS) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and six sub-recipients. UNDP’s expenditures as Principal Recipient were not covered by the investigation because the UN agency is subject to its own audit procedures. The investigation found UNDP was accountable for the non-compliant spending of two sub-recipients.
A US$14 million procurement of mosquito nets in 2008 was not handled properly when CRS awarded the contract to Toyota Tsusho, a sales agent for Sumitomo. Attempts were made tailor technical specifications to a product offered by Toyota Tsusho. In addition, the bid solicitation process was not sufficiently transparent, and a coordinator failed to disclose a conflict of interest.
Since 2011, the Global Fund has put in place additional measures in Niger that include: halting disbursements to some sub-recipients; recruiting an international fiscal agent; increasing pooled procurement; and closely monitoring nominations of new Principal Recipients.
The Global Fund has disbursed US$147 million to Niger to date. There are 12,000 people on anti-retroviral therapy, 40,700 new smear-positive tuberculosis cases have been detected and treated and 5.2 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