Donor Expresses Disappointment over Stealing of Healthcare Funds

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• Buhari gives assurance of better management
Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
The Chief Executive Officer of Gavi and The Global Fund, Dr Seth Berkley, has expressed disappointment with how the federal government officials utilised  donor funds for health care in the past.

However, President Muhammadu Buhari has quickly assured him that lapses that have characterised Nigeria as a nation are being corrected.

A statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina said Berkley met Buhari at the State House in Abuja.

The statement said  Berkley said Gavi and the Global Fund were disappointed when forensic audit revealed systemic weaknesses and corruption in the utilisation  of funds given in the past.
Berkley, who led a team of top officials of the funds, however said that they were impressed by Buhari’s decision to tackle corruption head on.

Responding, the president said he was impressed with the patience and steadfastness of leading supporters of health care in Nigeria, “despite our shortcomings as a nation.”
He said: “We are making genuine efforts to correct the lapses. We are very serious about people behaving themselves, and being accountable.

“We thank you for deciding to re-engage with us, despite our inefficiencies. You decided to be here, not minding our shortcomings. There are other countries that would bring less problems. We appreciate your commitment, and we will do our best to put ourselves in the best shape to help us.”

Eralier, Berkley had noted that the three focal points of the Buhari administration; security, economic development, and anti-corruption were critical to the future of Nigeria.

He said Gavi and the Global Fund were disappointed when forensic audit revealed systemic weaknesses and corruption in the utilisation  of funds given in the past, adding that there was now a “breath of fresh air”  under  Buhari’s  leadership and fight against corruption and they were willing to “close the books of the past, and look into future support.”

Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, who was also at the event, disclosed that those indicted in the audit of the donor funds in the past, which was done between 2010 and 2015, had already been questioned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and would be arraigned in court soon.