President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the alleged misappropriation of grants which Nigeria received from Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) between 2010 and 2014.
According to Isaac Adewole, minister of health, the president gave the directive on Monday, saying it was part of his government’s effort and commitment to the fight against corruption.
GFATM, which is the highest donor to Nigeria in the intervention of HIV and malaria, had earlier announced that it was suspending disbursement of funds to the country following discovery of large scale fraud to the tune of millions of dollars. It called on the president to investigate the issue.
However, in a statement issued on his behalf by Boade Akinola, director of media and public relations in the ministry of health, Adewole said: “Mr. President assured members of the international community that all funds received by Nigeria would be well utilised and accounted for under his watch to avoid national embarrassment.
“The President further said that all indicted officials would be given a fair hearing and those found guilty would be sanctioned to serve as deterrent to others.”
The statement recalled that the recent OIG report by Global Fund indicted three agencies of the federal government for misappropriation of specific intervention grants.
It added that the president also directed Babachir David Lawal, secretary to the government of federation, to review earlier audit reports from the office of the inspector-general of police.
Consequently, the SGF is said to have set up two high-powered investigative panels, which were expected to submit their reports within four weeks.
Their terms of reference include looking into the affected programmes and the financial transactions.
The first panel headed by Adewole is expected to conduct an in-depth review of all programmes, while the second panel chaired by Samuel Ukura, auditor-general of the federation, will review all financial transactions during the period.