A Nigerian firm, Zenith Carex, has been blacklisted by Global Fund for an alleged $3 million fraud. Zenix was accused of systematically inflating invoices for the distribution of health commodities to warehouses and health facilities throughout Nigeria.
In its latest report published March 9, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Global Fund said Zenith Carex committed the fraud within a period of two years between 2017 and 2019.
The revelation builds on previous yearly reports by the OIG accusing Nigerian companies and government agencies of abusing millions of dollars of the Global Fund aid.
Nigeria responded to some of the allegations over the years by ordering probes by the antigraft agencies, EFCC and ICPC. Nigerian authorities in some instances faulted the findings of the OIG, noting the need for the setting up of an independent committee to review its reports.
These allegations, however, could result in an indefinite termination of such donations to Nigeria if left unchecked, anti-corruption campaigners said.
Global Fund is a funding mechanism that pools the world’s largest financial donations for the prevention, treatment and care of AIDS, Tuberculosis, and malaria.
Giving that Nigeria has the highest malaria burden in the world (one in four cases globally), the world’s fourth-largest tuberculosis burden, and about two million people living with HIV, funding programmes to stem the tide of these grim indices became a central focus for Global Fund.
Since 2003, the Global Fund has disbursed over $2 billion in Nigeria but the country is still dogged by disturbing health statistics partly because corrupt and incompetent officials undercut progress in health management, health experts say. Premium Times