US to Investigate Illicit Diversion of USAID-funded Malaria Products, Funds

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To reward Nigerian whistleblowers with facts
Paul Obi in Abuja
The United States government yesterday said it would intensify investigation in the alleged diversion of USAID-funded malaria programmes and illicit sale of malaria products it has funded in Nigeria so far.

Head of Investigation, Office of the Inspector General, USAID, Jonathan Schofield, told journalists in Abuja at the relaunch of Make A Difference (MAD) malaria hotline that the investigation bureau entrusted with the task of probing such illicit activities relating to malaria programmes found some ‘troubling patterns’ in Nigeria.

He explained that the probe will only be restricted to US funded projects and will be in collaboration with Nigerian law enforcement agencies.

Jonathan said: “The US funded malaria programme is a specific tailored initiative we are now doing. We are working in many other countries around the world to look at illicit activities, including diversion, kick backs, including embezzlement of health programmes funds.

“There are patterns that we see in Nigeria that are troubling, we don’t know how deep they are, but with this project, we will focus on those patterns,” he said.
He stated that probe would extend to “The global funding to Nigeria given that one third of the global fund budget is contributed by the US government.

Jonathan informed journalists that though “the global fund focus on audit” In their investigation, he added that, “what we (Office of the Inspector General, USAID, offer is the law enforcement component.”
The MAD programme also included rewarding Nigerian whistleblowers who have vital and concrete information and facts about diversion of malaria products and funds to contact US authorities through 8099937319.

Jonathan explained that  “the main objective is to obtain actionable information concerning their transmitted, resale or falsification of anti-malaria drugs and commodities within USAID President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) funded countries.

Also speaking, National Coordinator of the National Malaria Elimination Programme  (NMEP), Dr. Bala Muhammed, represented by a Director in the agency, Dr Godwin Ntadom, stated that “part of the problems we face in the fight against malaria is in the quality of medicines used in the treatment of Malaria in Nigeria.

“The continued availability of counterfeit impedes global efforts in the fight against malaria and as such results in treatment failure and even death,” Ntadom stated.