Global Fund, an international donor agency, has accused officials of a Nigerian civil society organisation (CSO) of stealing from money meant for their staff salaries.
Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, is an international financing organisation founded by billionaire American couple, Bill and Melinda Gates; recently deceased former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan; Amir Attaran and Jeffrey Sachs.
Since it started operation in Nigeria in 2003, it has disbursed $1.1 billion in the fight against the three major diseases; HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis, making its investments in Nigeria one of its biggest.
However, the latest report indicted officials of Civil Society for the Eradication of Tuberculosis in Nigeria (TB Network) of misappropriating $51,038 (N18.4 million).
The principal recipients of Global Funds grants on TB in Nigeria are the Institute of Human Virology of Nigeria (IHVN) and the Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH).
TB Network has been a sub-recipient of the grants in Nigeria since 2013.
According to the report of the OIG investigation, between July 2016 and September 30, 2017, 28 employees paid N16, 791,646 ($51,038) from their salaries and or Daily Subsistence Allowance entitlement to the scheme organised TB Network.
This fraud was allegedly perpetuated by the National Coordinator of the CSO, assisted by the former finance manager and a programme internal auditor.
Employees made payments to the personal bank accounts of the former finance manager and later to the programme’s internal auditor who, acting on the instructions of the national coordinator, were responsible for collecting and distributing the funds, OIG said.
It was also found that TB Network management also colluded to misappropriate funds paid as salaries to five employees, totalling N3,536,797 ($10, 750).
These employees received salary payment for two months that they were not entitled to and which they were required to pay to the scheme.
The operation of the scheme and the actions of TB Network management breach Global Fund’s Code of Conduct for Recipients, OIG said.
OIG found out that TB Network management and its National Secretary benefitted substantially from the funds collected from the staff while misleading Global Fund that the deductions were paid for office support staff and running cost.
However, the national secretary was not found to be involved in the implementation of the scheme and said the employees contributed to it voluntarily.