01 September 2017
An OIG investigation concluded that a local supplier deceived a Principal Recipient of Global Fund grants in Burkina Faso when it delivered 35 counterfeit and low quality motorbikes in June 2014. The bikes, valued at EUR73,366, were needed to provide community services to people with tuberculosis. The supplier, Sogedim-BTP Sarl, profited from the difference in value between the brand model it had promised in its bid proposal and those it actually delivered. The Principal Recipient, PAMAC (Programme d’Appui au Monde Associatif et Communautaire), did not make the terms and conditions of its purchase contract with Sogedim clear, which facilitated the irregular delivery. The Global Fund Secretariat will seek to recover the lost funds and take appropriate action against the supplier. The supplier has not been used for any other Global Fund grants in Burkina Faso.
An independent technical evaluation firm retained by PAMAC concluded that the motorbikes were counterfeits of an internationally recognized brand (Yamaha V80 model). Sogedim refuted the evaluation firm’s findings and declined PAMAC’s request to replace the counterfeit motorbikes. Nor did it cooperate with the Global Fund OIG during the investigation.
The Principal Recipient’s contractual provisions were vague and did not include the Global Fund’s supplier code of conduct. The contractual provisions did not explicitly allow it to hold the supplier accountable for the quality of the products delivered. Also, PAMAC was unable to demonstrate to the OIG that it had taken prompt and appropriate remedial actions once it became aware of the fraud, despite this being a requirement of the Global Fund’s Code of Conduct for Recipients of Global Fund Resources.
PAMAC did not alert the Global Fund regarding the counterfeit supply of motorbikes until July 2015, a year after the wrongdoing had occurred. Moreover, the Secretariat did not report the incident to the OIG until December 2016, a further delay of 18 months and more than two years since the fraud occurred. The OIG found that a lack of understanding of when to report such issues contributed to the delay, despite having clear policies in the Global Fund. As part of its anti-corruption efforts, under the ‘I Speak Out Now!’ banner, the OIG encourages both the Secretariat and implementers to report fraud and corruption as early as possible to avoid the risk of compromising grant objectives.
As of 19 June 2017, the Global Fund had disbursed a total of EUR342.2 million (US$390.5 million) to Burkina Faso. The tuberculosis program grant concerned by this investigation, ended on 31 May 2015. The Global Fund, however, continues to invest in tuberculosis programs in Burkina Faso and currently has five grants covering the three diseases. The Global Fund Secretariat has considerably improved risk mitigation measures for the Burkina Faso portfolio. For example, local procurement of all major non-health products now go through independent third parties.
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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.