GAVI and Government of Mali resolve misuse of funds case

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Government commits to full reimbursement

Geneva, 19 May 2011 - An investigation by the GAVI Alliance has concluded that US$ 563,000 was misused in two of its cash-based programmes in Mali.

Sixty percent of the misused amount, or $335,000, was judged by investigators as ineligible expenses, which although used in the health sector, were outside the scope of GAVI's funding agreement. The remaining 40% of the funds, $228,000, were spent on nonexistent activities or on fictitious procurement of goods and services.

The investigation was led by the Transparency and Accountability Policy Team at GAVI and the Malian Government's Office of the Auditor General after GAVI discovered weaknesses in the Ministry of Health's financial control systems last year. During the investigation, GAVI suspended $1.8 million in unused funds.

The Malian Government, which fully cooperated in the investigation, has committed to reimburse the total amount to GAVI and has arrested four individuals under suspicion for the misuse.

"We take our financial stewardship of all donor funding very seriously and are committed to following GAVI's recommendations on improving the management and oversight of cash support to ensure that this does not occur again," said Minister of Health DIALLO Madeleine BA.

"We appreciate the partnership with the Malian government in this investigation and the speed at which it is reacting to ensure that the missing funds are promptly repaid," said Helen Evans, interim CEO. "GAVI vigorously condemns any misuse of its funding. Children's lives are jeopardised when GAVI funds are not used as they are intended."

GAVI maintains a transparency and accountability process managed by a dedicated team at the Secretariat who carry out financial management assessments and review external audit reports in order to uncover anomalies in the financial management of GAVI's cash-based programmes.

"With the investigation now concluded and the government's commitment to reimburse the missing funds and improve its financial management systems, we will work with the government to agree upon an aide memoire that will include appropriate strengthening measures so we can resume our cash support," said Evans.

Over the next 12 months, GAVI will verify the robustness of the new financial management systems.

As per its transparency and accountability procedure, the GAVI Secretariat informs its board and donors when an investigation commences and publishes a statement on its website once it is completed.

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