06 April 2016
An OIG investigation found evidence of non-competitive tenders and improper procurement practices by a sub-recipient of Global Fund grants, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, totaling US$97,149. This included payments for information materials that were not printed, office equipment and computers. The Global Fund is putting in place actions to tighten procurement procedures and oversight at the recipient level.
In February 2015, the OIG opened an investigation into allegations involving Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India. The sub-recipient focuses on tuberculosis control across 19 states in India. As of January 2016, the Global Fund has invested US$1,701 million in India with ten grants currently active to fight HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.
The investigators found that Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India conducted non-competitive tenders through false and/or collusive quotations. Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India attached quotations to payment vouchers to make the tenders appear competitive and awarded one printing contract to a vendor based on a single quotation without proper justification. These acts violate the Global Fund’s Code of Conduct for Recipients, the grant agreements, the Principal Recipient’s project guidelines, and Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India’s own finance manual.
In its response to the OIG’s findings, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India’s Executive Director acknowledged that the organization had not always provided quotations from separate vendors and had, on occasion, approached a vendor to provide other vendors’ quotations. The Executive Director stated that there were no fraudulent intentions on their part and if they did not get quotations from other vendors it was due to time constraints. The OIG noted that staff generally lacked capacity to follow internal procurement policies and that financial controls were weak. However, the OIG did not find evidence showing if any individual benefited directly or otherwise, in relation to the non-competitive procurements described in the report.
The Principal Recipients (the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease and the Central Tuberculosis Division) as well as Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India did not conduct due diligence on vendors although a large portion of printing contracts were awarded to the same vendor. The Principal Recipients did not provide adequate oversight over Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India. They neither reviewed the sub-recipient’s finance manual nor conducted sufficient reviews of their procurements and other expenditures.
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.