The said amount is non-compliant expenditure from the grant provided to the Ministry of Health by the Global Fund.
The government has now agreed to pay it in four installments starting 15 March 2023, according to a letter signed by Finance Minister Seedy K.M. Keita.
The Global Fund is one of the leading health financiers that provides grants to health bodies and ministries, with particular focus on Malaria, HIV and TB.
“We hereby refer to your WCR/GMB/ demand letter addressed to the ministry of health on non-compliant expenditure on the global fund programme. Please be informed that the government of The Gambia is seriously concerned about the audit founding,” a letter signed by the Minister states.
“Consequently, we had a frame discussion with your visiting team on Monday, February 06, 2022. To this end the government is willing to refund the all the non-compliant expenditure identified in the audit report during the period under review (January 1st 2018 to September 30th, 2021).”
However, in light of the above, the government has proposed a “two-year payment plan of four installments starting on March 15, 2023.”
“We want to assure that the government is working on its internal process to ensure all concerns are addressed,” it concluded.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance has clarified the matter, saying: “The Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs is aware of social media posting of a letter to The Global Fund. The posting relates to a letter addressed to the management division of the said fund concerning a refund of non-compliant expenditures.
The general public is hereby informed that government is taking all necessary steps to address the findings relating to the audit of the malaria component financed by the Global Fund. This audit exercise was conducted in 2019 and the findings have been shared with government. The audit findings came from the regular internal auditing of the Fund’s operations by the Internal Audit Directorate of the Ministry of Finance. The matter was referred to the ministries of finance and health (the sector and lead ministry for the Fund’s operations) and the Executive was briefed accordingly.
The conclusion of these consultations was to refer the matter to the Inspector General of Police for investigation. The IGP has since commenced the investigations and the outcome will determine the restitution action to be taken. We have been advised that the investigations are at an advanced stage for completion and the public will be duly informed,” the statement reads.
Notwithstanding the investigations, the Government of the Gambia is required under the terms of the financing agreement to settle the ineligible expenditure, otherwise the Global Fund will recover twice the amount of the ineligible expenditures (that is twice the amount alleged; twenty million Dalasis.). This will adversely affect the Fund’s operations in the country. It is within this context that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs reached an agreement with the Global Fund to settle the ineligible expenditures with a payment plan of four installments over a period of two years, beginning March 15th, 2023. This course of action is saving GMD10 million and was mutually agreed with the Fund whilst every effort is being exerted to recover the funds.
The ministry of finance in collaboration with the ministry of health, the release added, will ensure that all appropriate and necessary actions are taken to address this matter. “We urged the general public to be patient pending the finalisation of the investigations by the police and the next cause of action to be taken by Government. The Government of HE Adama Barrow will deploy all means to fight corruption,” it concluded.