Geneva, 28 October 2014 - Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance has today issued a report following the completion of a Cash Programme Audit in Nigeria; the audit scope covered funds disbursed to Nigeria to support immunisation activities in the period 2011 to 2013.
The report describes systemic weaknesses regarding the operation of controls and procedures in national systems used to manage Gavi cash-based support. As a result of specific findings the Government of Nigeria has agreed to repay funds deemed to have been misused, which are quantified as US$ 2.2 million.
The Cash Programme Audit was undertaken by Gavi’s Programme Fiduciary Oversight team. Based on the team’s preliminary findings, cash-based support to Nigeria was suspended in April and funds previously disbursed but not yet used were immediately frozen. No funds have been disbursed to the Ministry of Health since the concerns were first identified. Remediation of the identified weaknesses will need to be undertaken before disbursements can start again.
To ensure that children will continue to benefit from vital immunisation activities despite these necessary measures, Gavi has asked UNICEF Nigeria to oversee the implementation of a limited number of activities that are deemed critical to routine immunisation and health system strengthening.
The appointment of a fiduciary agent to oversee the financial management of Gavi's grants to Nigeria, at both federal and state levels, has also been agreed between Gavi and the Government of Nigeria. The fiduciary agent will also be tasked to help remediate the weaknesses identified at Nigeria’s National Primary Health Care Development Agency.
Gavi will also undertake a full-scale external audit to cover select, high-risk expenditures in prior years, and other expenditure in the period 2011-2014.
Additionally, Gavi has requested that Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) carries out a thorough and detailed investigation. The EFCC has the jurisdiction to pursue individuals responsible for any criminal activity.
Gavi’s support for the provision of vaccines in Nigeria – a country where every year three million children do not receive a full course of even the most basic vaccines – remains unchanged. Vaccine procurement is managed centrally by Gavi.
Gavi and its partners have a zero tolerance on the misuse of funds. When misuse is identified Gavi requires reimbursement. Inappropriate use of funds not only undermines confidence in development support but it means that the desired beneficiaries, who often already live in challenging circumstances, do not see much-needed improvements in the services.