26 March 2015
OIG investigators found evidence of fraudulent practices and procurement irregularities by the Committee for Youth, Sports and Tourism (CYST), a government sub-recipient of Global Fund grants in Tajikistan, from 2011 – 2012. The OIG has called for US$116,726 to be recovered corresponding mostly to overpricing for non-health products. The Global Fund has already taken steps to recover the funds and strengthen sub-recipient oversight in the country.
Following an analysis of market prices at the time, the OIG concluded that CYST had overpaid the supplier Komyob by US$109,541. They also determined that CYST had paid US$7,185 for products where there was no proof of delivery. The investigators focused on six contracts awarded to Komyob, between August 2011 and November 2012, valued at US$300,269 for the supply of non-health products, including stationery, small electrical goods, and sports equipment, with some of the products destined to be used as incentives at HIV awareness programs for young people throughout Tajikistan.
The OIG found no evidence of a competitive tender process for the procurement contracts. Documents presented by CYST contained many inconsistencies and different versions were provided to the OIG at different times of the investigation. The contracts appeared to have been tailored towards Komyob and there was no evidence that other suppliers had been invited to tender, despite CYST claiming the contrary.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the Principal Recipient of Global Fund grants in Tajikistan and as such is responsible for oversight of sub-recipient operations. OIG investigators identified deficient procurement controls at the sub-recipient level with, for example, CYST defining its own procurement guidelines, ignoring value thresholds, altering documents and having improper contact with bidders. The OIG collaborated closely with UNDP’s Office of Audit and Investigations and conducted a joint mission to Dushanbe in August 2014.
Since the irregularities first came to light, the Global Fund has taken the following corrective actions: CYST is no longer a sub-recipient of Global Fund grants, UNDP has formalized its oversight of sub-recipients including budget checks, capacity assessments and training to cover procurement, supply chain and financial management. The Global Fund has also asked the Principal Recipients in Tajikistan to share information about suppliers and the names of those that have been black-listed.
To date, the Global Fund has disbursed US$139 million of grants funds in Tajikistan, there are 1700 people on antiretroviral therapy, 22,100 people have been tested and treated for tuberculosis and 460,000 mosquito 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.