The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) has suspended funding for three cash-based programmes in Niger, Cote d'Ivoire and Cameroon after its oversight processes raised credible concerns about possible misuse of funds. GAVI will investigate further. The announcement was made in a GAVI news release issued on 30 March 2011. Earlier, GAVI had announced that it was investigating two cash-based programmes in Mali.
GAVI's cash grants to countries, which support immunisation services, strengthen health systems and fund civil society organisations, represent about 15% of its annual disbursements. The other 85% are spent on the purchase of vaccines and other related supplies that are centrally procured and delivered to countries.
Previously, GAVI did not make a public announcement when a cash programme was suspended. GAVI said that it has changed its policy in order "to further increase transparency of the oversight of its cash-based support."
The amount under investigation in the suspended programmes totals approximately $18 million.GAVI said that the governments of Mali, Niger and Cameroon are fully cooperating with the investigations. Because of the political turmoil in Cote d'Ivoire, the investigation in that country has not yet started.
GAVI has taken steps to ensure that, despite the suspensions, children in the affected countries continue to receive life-saving vaccines.
Three of the four countries whose programmes are being investigated by GAVI have also been the subject of audits or investigations by the Global Fund's Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The Global Fund has terminated or suspended several grants in Mali following findings of extensive fraud by the OIG. The OIG is investigating several grants in Cote d'Ivoire; the OIG said preliminary indications are that there has been systematic fraud in at least one grant in that country. In 2010, an OIG audit on grants in Cameroon revealed some misappropriation of funds and significant deficiencies in financial management controls.
The GAVI news release is available here.