Infectious Diseases Bill: Gates Foundation Debunks Bribery Allegation

3

By Udora Orizu

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has debunked allegation that it offered a $10 million bribe to some members of the House of Representatives to see to the speedy passage of the Control of Infectious Diseases Bill.

It would be recalled that recently, Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) alleged that Bill Gates offered the House of Representatives $10 million for the passage of the controversial legislation.

The Foundation, in a letter entitled, “Gates Foundation Statement on Allegation of Misconduct”, dated May 14, 2020, signed by its Nigeria Country Office Director, Paulin Basinga, and addressed to National Assembly: Ad-hoc Committee on the allegation of bribery against the House, described such allegations as entirely false and without merit.

Basinga said the Foundation had not offered any financial incentives to any member of Nigeria’s legislative branch for the passage of Bill nor has it offered any grants to organisations in Nigeria in connection with the same.

He explained that in Nigeria, the Foundation’s focus was on improving the quality of life for the Nigerian people and the foundation works closely with many partners in achieving that goal.

The letter read in part, “The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has recently been made aware of an allegation circulating in certain elements of the Nigerian media that the foundation was involved in a payment purportedly made to the Nigeria House of Representatives.

“The Foundation adheres to strict

ethical and legal guidelines across all areas of its operations. What drives the Foundation’s work is the simple and compelling belief that all lives have equal value, and that everyone deserves to lead a healthy productive life. The Foundation works in very diverse settings around the globe in a nonpartisan fashion, consistent with strict U.S. private foundation restrictions on political and legislative engagement.”

“Globally, the Foundation is

committed to helping strengthen diagnostic testing, protect at-risk populations; and develop vaccines, treatments and diagnostics in response to COVID-19. The Foundation is currently providing support to the Nigerian government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and broader health issues, working in partnership with international

health agencies, development organizations, and civil society.”

“The Foundation invests in programs that address Nigeria’s health and development challenges which align with Nigeria’s development agenda and priorities. As the Nigerian government continues to make concerted efforts towards containing the impact of the pandemic and leveraging the National COVID-19 Multi-sectoral Pandemic Response Plan, the Foundation is pleased to continue its partnership with the several government agencies in aligning its support to what would be most beneficial to the Nigerian people in these unprecedented times.”

“The Foundation commends the government of Nigeria for the swift response to the pandemic and also commends the Presidential Task Force other Government agencies, and

the legislature for their commitment to addressing the pandemic and protecting the Nigerian people