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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Global Fund Blocked Health-Ministry Amid Fraud

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Liberia’s Ministry of Health has lost exclusive control over the management of the Global Health Fund after years of systematic abuse and fraudulent practices in the implementation of the programs.

United Nations agency World Food Program and other non-governmental organizations are now in charge of the management of the Fund.

Based in Switzerland, Geneva, The Global Fund is a worldwide partnership to defeat HIV, tuberculosis and malaria and ensure a healthier, safer, more equitable future for all.

The organization  raise and invest more than US$5 billion a year to fight the deadliest infectious diseases, challenge the injustice that fuels them, and strengthen health systems and pandemic preparedness in more than 100 of the hardest hit countries including Liberia.

In April 2022, an investigation by the USAID Office of the Inspector General discovered systemic fraud and misappropriation by staff of the Liberian Ministry of Health (MoH), a grant Principal Recipient.

We found non-compliant expenditures and/or various types of wrongdoing in 91% of the expenditures reviewed. Non-compliant expenditures totaled US$1.1 million, Inspector General said in his report.

“Staff of the National AIDS Control Program conducted fraudulent procurements of vehicle repairs and advertising services. No assurance could be provided over program delivery in 75% of MoH field activities that we reviewed, and the MoH overcharged for daily subsistence allowances and misused grant funds by providing incorrect allowances and catering expenses.

“MoH controls, policies, and oversight to mitigate fraud and misappropriation were either insufficient or did not exist. The Global Fund’s Fiscal Agent did not adequately mitigate the risk of fraud, and engaged in conflicts of interest and misappropriation, including accepting grant funds for DSA and fuel coupons for activities that did not take place.

“The Global Fund Secretariat was aware of fraud red flags and other wrongdoing in MoH-managed grants from 2015, but did not report the matters at issue in this investigation to the OIG.”

The Global Fund has implemented internal controls to address this issue, and further controls will be implemented as a result of this investigation.

In Feb. 2023, USAID commissioned a probe into the matter following the audit and by July the same year Health ministry direct control of the programs was cut off.

WFP backed by Global Fund and USAID assumed control of drug delivery across the country and the management of its Central Medical Stores (CMS).

The partnership will strengthen the country’s healthcare supply chain and ensure efficiency and reliability, the parties said.

 

 

 

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