Geneva, 19 January 2012 – Following separate investigations into the misuse of GAVI funding in Cameroon and Niger, both Ministries of Health have cooperated fully and confirmed their commitment to take all necessary measures, including the reimbursement of misused funds.
The investigation reports are currently with the respective ministries to confirm the findings and work with GAVI to agree on next steps.
The investigations began last year after GAVI’s oversight processes raised credible concerns that funds were misused during the period 2007-2010. The findings suggest that up to US$ 4.2 million allocated for health systems strengthening (HSS) has been misused in Cameroon and up to US$ 2.5 million allocated for immunisation services support (ISS) has been misused in Niger.
Of these amounts, approximately US$ 1.8 million in Cameroon and US$ 1.5 million in Niger are under investigation for theft. Also of concern are the other misused funds which were spent without sufficient documentation or used to pay for activities in the health sector but outside the scope of GAVI’s grant agreements.
GAVI announced the Niger and Cameroon investigations in 2011 and, at the same time, suspended funding to the affected cash-based programmes. Support to the rest of the two countries’ childhood immunisation programmes have continued uninterrupted.
GAVI and its donors have no tolerance for any misuse. The GAVI Secretariat takes the outcomes of these investigations very seriously and will vigorously pursue the repayment of misused funds.
As standard practice, GAVI employs several safeguards on all its cash-based programmes. These have been further strengthened in 2009 and new measures were mandated in 2011 and are currently underway to improve oversight further.
Additionally, to manage the risk of misuse, all countries benefiting from GAVI’s cash-based programmes undergo independent external audits on an annual basis. GAVI's internal auditor independently performs verifications of the robustness of the entire system of controls.
These safeguards provide a deterrent to potential misuse and have improved the effectiveness of GAVI’s response in cases when controls have been identified as weak or the appropriation of GAVI funding has been questioned.
Since its launch in 2000, GAVI has confirmed two other cases of misuse of its funds (in Uganda and Mali). Both cases have since been resolved and funds recovered.
Learn more about GAVI’s transparency and accountability policy and programme.