Project Fi­nance Of­fi­cer used money for loan busi­ness

Observer on Saturday - - News -

In­stead of us­ing the money for what it was des­ig­nated for, the Project Fi­nance Of­fi­cer is al­leged to have used the money to start up a loan busi­ness.

The re­port states that some of the funds which the of­fi­cer trans­ferred to his per­sonal mo­bile money ac­count were used to ex­tend per­sonal loans to the Project Fi­nance Of­fi­cer’s col­leagues and friends.

“Among the FLAS staff mem­bers who re­ceived loans were the Youth Af­fairs Man­ager, Se­nior Nurs­ing Of­fi­cer and a Project Of­fi­cer,” states part of the re­port.

In to­tal, the in­ves­ti­ga­tions un­earthed that E4 990 (US

$360) in per­sonal loans were im­prop­erly ex­tended us­ing grant funds.

Fur­ther, the OIG con­sid­ered all trans­fers made to Com­mu­nity Fa­cil­i­ta­tors, Outreach Work­ers, Train­ers and other ben­e­fi­cia­ries who had no for­mal con­tracts with FLAS, to non-FLAS in­di­vid­u­als and to the Project Fi­nance Of­fi­cer for per­sonal use, to­talling E63 668 (US$ 4 590), to have been made out­side the grant pro­gramme ac­tiv­i­ties and there­fore to be non­com­pli­ant.

Trans­fers

Fi­nally, of the trans­fers made di­rectly to FLAS em­ploy­ees in­volved in grant ac­tiv­i­ties from the FLAS mo­bile money ac­count (E128 528 (US $9 267)), the OIG was not pro­vided with sup­port­ing doc­u­ments to sub­stan­ti­ate E 20 676 (US$ 1 491) of trans­fers, which are there­fore con­sid­ered to be non-com­pli­ant. The to­tal value of un­sup­ported, unau­tho­rised, and there­fore fraud­u­lent, di­ver­sion of grant funds by the Project Fi­nance Of­fi­cer is E370 330 (US$ 26 701). Ex­plain­ing about the de­ci­sion to use mo­bile money to trans­fer funds, the re­port states that Mo­bile Money tech­nol­ogy was first in­tro­duced in 2016 dur­ing a mass bed net dis­tri­bu­tion cam­paign in Africa, with suc­cess­ful re­sults.

In­creas­ing

The Global Fund in­di­cated that it sup­ports in­creas­ing the us­age of this tech­nol­ogy, recog­nis­ing its value in im­prov­ing fi­nan­cial man­age­ment and de­creas­ing theft, fraud and cor­rup­tion. It is said in Septem­ber 2017, the Global Fund launched a list of pre-qual­i­fied mo­bile money sup­pli­ers, though this tech­nol­ogy has not yet been con­sis­tently in­te­grated in Global Fund op­er­a­tions.

The re­port states that FLAS had adopted the mo­bile money sys­tem on in­struc­tions from CANGO with the un­der­stand­ing that it was an easy, con­ve­nient and se­cure way to trans­fer money.

It is said the mo­bile money sys­tem in FLAS was solely man­aged and op­er­ated by the Project Fi­nance Of­fi­cer with lit­tle or no su­per­vi­sion and over­sight from his su­pe­ri­ors.

The project fi­nance of­fi­cer was ac­cused of ex­ploit­ing this po­si­tion by by­pass­ing con­trol mech­a­nisms within the mo­bile money sys­tem and ma­nip­u­lat­ing fi­nan­cial records.

Upon the dis­cov­ery of such mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of funds, the OIG took the nec­es­sary ac­tion and the of­fi­cer in­volved was dis­missed.

The Global Fund Sec­re­tariat de­vised a strat­egy in which it aimed to pur­sue an ap­pro­pri­ate re­cov­er­able amount of the money.

It was said that this amount was go­ing to be de­ter­mined by the Sec­re­tariat in ac­cor­dance with its eval­u­a­tion of ap­pli­ca­ble le­gal rights and obli­ga­tions and as­so­ci­ated de­ter­mi­na­tion of re­cov­er­abil­ity. The dead­line for the re­cov­ery mis­sion was slated for Novem­ber 30, 2018. It was also agreed that the Global Fund Sec­re­tariat will work with the Prin­ci­pal Re­cip­i­ent, CANGO, to en­sure that it de­vel­ops Stan­dard Op­er­at­ing Pro­ce­dures to guide in the man­age­ment

The Of­fice of the In­spec­tor Gen­eral (OIG) safe­guards the as­sets, in­vest­ments, rep­u­ta­tion and sus­tain­abil­ity of the Global Fund by en­sur­ing that it takes the right ac­tion to end the epi­demics of AIDS, tu­ber­cu­lo­sis and malaria.

Through au­dits, in­ves­ti­ga­tions and ad­vi­sory work, it pro­motes good prac­tice, re­duces risk and re­ports fully and trans­par­ently on abuse. Es­tab­lished in 2005, the OIG is an in­de­pen­dent yet in­te­gral part of the Global Fund. It is ac­count­able to the Board through its Au­dit and Fi­nance Com­mit­tee and serves the in­ter­ests of all Global Fund stake­hold­ers. Its work con­forms to the In­ter­na­tional Stan­dards for the Pro­fes­sional Prac­tice of In­ter­nal Au­dit­ing and the Uni­form Guide­lines for In­ves­ti­ga­tions of the Con­fer­ence of In­ter­na­tional In­ves­ti­ga­tors.

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