01 March 2016
The OIG found fraud and collusion in the procurement of technology equipment and communications materials in a malaria grant in Angola in 2013. The OIG concluded that senior staff at the Ministry of Health deliberately diverted US$4 million of grant funds into companies they owned or were closely affiliated with. The Global Fund has recovered close to US$3 million and enforced new measures for the use of program funds by the Ministry of Health in Angola. Angolan authorities have arrested and indicted the officials and criminal proceedings related to this case are ongoing.
The Global Fund has invested US$189.2 million to date in Angola. Malaria investments alone total US$95.4 million and support efforts to provide Angola’s citizens with universal access to malaria prevention and treatment. There are 67,000 people currently on antiretroviral therapy, 180,000 new smear-positive tuberculosis cases have been detected and treated and 3,090,000 anti-mosquito bed nets have been distributed.
In March 2014, based on the findings of a procurement review by a Local Fund Agent, the Global Fund notified the OIG of alleged wrongdoing by the Angola Ministry of Health, Ministério de Saúde, (MINSA) and its sub-recipient, the National Malaria Control Program, Programa Nacional de Controlo da Malária, (PNCM). A dedicated technical management unit called Unidad Técnica de Gestão (UTG), under MINSA, administers the grants on a day-to-day basis and handles financial management and non-health procurements.
The OIG investigators found that the UTG Finance Coordinator and the PNCM Deputy Coordinator embezzled funds for more than a year using falsifying information to make the transactions appear legitimate.
Additionally, the investigation uncovered improper practices related to the selection of external auditors in 2012 and 2013 for the financial statement audits of the malaria and tuberculosis programs that UTG managed. Tenders were manipulated and bid evaluation reports were falsified, leading to the non-competitive and non-transparent selection of auditors and excessive audit fees. The UTG Finance Coordinator’s own firm was appointed auditor for one malaria program audit.
The UTG Finance Coordinator was also found to have been employed as the senior finance officer of a large real estate developer in Luanda during most of her tenure with UTG, receiving a salary from both employers, and actively managing the business affairs of the developer and her own company.
In March 2014, as soon as the Global Fund heard of the potential wrongdoing, it froze MINSA’s use of malaria program funds until certain risk mitigation measures were implemented including retaining a fiduciary agent to administer the financial management function and approve expenditures for payment and employing stricter disbursement and expenditure review guidelines. The Global Fund is also seeking to recover the additional misused funds.
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The Office of the Inspector General safeguards the assets, investments, reputation and sustainability of the Global Fund by ensuring that it takes the right action to defeat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Through audits, investigations and consultancy work, it promotes good practice, reduces risk and reports fully and transparently on 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 Global Fund 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 speak out to report fraud, abuse and human rights violations that prevent Global Fund resources from reaching those who need them.