05 July 2016
An Office of the Inspector General (OIG) investigation in South Sudan identified 97 unexplained bank transactions, worth US$447,564, carried out by Caritas Torit, a sub-recipient of Global Fund grants for a malaria program. The investigators also found a transaction of US$53,000 used to pay salaries for an HIV program funded by another donor. As the OIG was unable to obtain reasonable assurance that the funds had been used for their intended purposes, a total of US$500,564 is considered non-compliant expenditure and therefore potentially recoverable.
In April 2015, an OIG audit in South Sudan (GF-OIG-15-016) identified significant financial management weaknesses and possible misuse of resources by Caritas Torit, a sub-recipient under Principal Recipient, Population Services International. Under the malaria grant, Caritas Torit received a total of US$1,112,082 in disbursements from Population Services International between January 2012 and April 2015 to scale up coverage of malaria prevention particularly for children under five years and pregnant women.
The OIG investigation confirmed that the transfer of malaria program funds to Caritas Torit program staff through bank transfers and cheques was common practice. The nature of many of these transactions, including the end use of the funds, could not be established due to a lack of supporting documents such as cash payment vouchers, payment requisition forms, invoices, or other documents
Enquiries revealed that a former staff member held the dual role of cashier and accountant and transferred large sums of money to her own account. Again, the nature of these transfers or the actual end use of these funds could not be established.
The OIG’s review of the program bank account also revealed the diversion of malaria program funds to pay salaries for a health program funded by another donor. The OIG was unable to obtain reasonable assurance that, in relation to any of the undocumented transactions, any program related goods or services were received.
The Global Fund is putting in place corrective actions including pursuing an appropriate recoverable amount and requiring Population Services International to strengthen financial controls on its sub-recipients.
South Sudan is Africa’s newest country, established in 2011 following a civil war. The country has poor health outcome indicators. Malaria is endemic, with 100 percent of the population at risk, and accounts for the highest proportion of the disease burden in South Sudan. There are 15,000 people currently on antiretroviral therapy to fight HIV and AIDS, 21,000 tuberculosis cases have been detected and treated and 7,550,000 insecticide-treated nets have been distributed to prevent malaria.
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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.
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