28 January 2020
A follow-up assessment by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of findings identified by a 2019 OIG audit in Liberia [ download in English | Français ] found no evidence of systemic diversion of health products.
In its 2019 audit, the OIG identified stock reconciliation differences for health products amounting to US$1.4 million. In the absence of clear inventory records, the OIG conducted a reconciliation of stock movements between August 2018 and April 2019, noting a net difference of US$1.4m between the expected commodities’ balance as of April 2019 versus the actual stock balance.
However, given the lack of inventory records, the audit could not conclude whether these discrepancies were the result of misappropriation, or bona fide transfers or stock movements that had not been recorded correctly.
OIG’s investigation assessment, finalized in December 2019, found that the discrepancy identified during the audit was due to poor record keeping, and not systemic diversion of health products.
The investigation assessment found, for instance, that Liberia’s Central Warehouse could not have had the 1.2 million vials of Artesunate 60mg that it reported in August 2018 and could only have had in stock a maximum of 42,652 vials financed by the Global Fund. This reporting error was likely due to use of a wrong unit of measurement during stock count.
The OIG found that of the 42,652 vials of Artesunate 60mg financed by the Global Fund in the period under review, the Central Warehouse could not account for 6,510 vials. The Secretariat will follow up on this discrepancy in line with Global Fund guidelines on non-compliant transactions and recoveries.
The OIG only publishes investigation reports when conclusive findings of fraud and abuse have been made, in line with the applicable professional guidelines. The investigation assessment has therefore been closed without a formal report.
OIG’s audit of the Liberia grant portfolio identified significant weaknesses in stock management and record keeping. At the Central Warehouse, there was no inventory management system, stock cards were not maintained, there were no regular inventory counts and inventory reports, there were inadequate products receipt records and inadequate inventory monitoring.
OIG’s investigation assessment did not find evidence of systemic diversion of health products. However, the assessment corroborated the significant internal control deficiencies that had been identified in the audit. OIG concluded that further investigative steps were unlikely to add value and therefore the case was closed.
The Secretariat has confirmed to OIG that it will continue to work with the Ministry of Health to implement measures to address the significant deficiencies in supply chain management.