Nigeria disagrees with Global Fund over grants’ misapplication claim
The principal recipients of the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) grants to Nigeria – the National Agency for Control of AIDS (NACA) and the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) –have faulted the findings by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the donor agency alleging misappropriation of $3.82 million of the funds by the relevant Nigerian agencies.
They said contrary to reports in the media, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had been notified of the alleged fraud by the Department of Health Planning, Research and Statistics of the Federal Ministry of Health (DPRS-FMoH) even before the publication of the findings by GFATM, adding that the commission had since swung into action.
The two health agencies noted that the Federal Government had set up a committee to review the OIG report, directing the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation to review the financial management issues of the entities implementing the grant in the country.
They maintained that the image of the country had been unduly tarnished by the GFATM in the course of their supposed support through the grant, noting that there was need to institute an independent review of the OIG audit and demand apology from the GFATM if the findings proved to the contrary.
The agencies also called for the convening of a national forum to fashion out a uniform system of grant/donor relationship in Nigeria that is based on mutual respect to ensure national pride.
Director General of NACA, Prof. John Idoko disagreed with the submission in his response to the Secretary of Government of the Federation (SGF).
Also, the National Coordinator, NMEP, Dr. Nnenna Ezeigwe, said: “We note that the action of the GFATM on this matter as in several others is unwarranted given that the sanction is not commensurate with the alleged findings should they even be factual, and gives the impression that there is more to it that meets the eye.”