02 April 2015
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 found misappropriation and fraud amounting to US$416,183 by 22 sub-recipients of a Global Fund HIV/AIDS grant in the Republic of Guinea between 2008 and 2010. The grant financed programs which aimed to improve HIV/AIDS prevention in high-risk groups and enhance the quality of care for people living with the disease. The Global Fund is taking action to recover the funds and has put in place stronger controls to prevent future wrongdoing in the country.
The OIG is calling for US$416,183 to be recovered as a result of the following evidence: investigators found that the Ministry of Health sub-recipient, the Programme National de Prise en Charge Sanitaire et de Prévention (PNPCSP), disbursed US$26,023 to fictitious companies and US$60,953 to recipient companies who did not use them for grant activities. PNPCSP could not show supporting documents to the OIG for further disbursements to a supplier worth US$250,852. Investigators also found fictitious invoices amounting to US$78,355 submitted by nine other sub-recipients to justify fake expenditures, sometimes involving PNPCSP.
The OIG concluded that fraud and the diversion of grant funds was pervasive across the grant’s administration by PNPCSP at the sub-sub-recipient level due to the lack of a sufficient system of internal controls and oversight by the Principal Recipient, the Ministry of Health. Widespread political turmoil and violence in Guinea during the period under investigation also hampered efforts by the Local Fund Agent to validate the sub-sub-recipients’ program activities as would normally be the case.
In response to the OIG’s findings, the Global Fund Secretariat implemented measures to mitigate risks of funds misuse including a complete restructuring of the grant portfolio in 2012. The Secretariat also recruited an international fiscal agent and implemented a “zero cash” policy. The fiscal agent observes all procurements for non-health products, verifies and co-signs on all payments and ensures a transparent process in the recruitment of staff engaged for Global Fund grant work.
To date, the Global Fund has disbursed US$93.5 million grants to the Republic of Guinea. There are 11,000 people currently on antiretroviral therapy for AIDS, 13,400 people have been tested and treated for tuberculosis and 4.5 million mosquito nets have been distributed to protect from malaria.
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.