The Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) has petitioned the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization (GAVI), requesting that the organization suspends the recent appointment of Nigeria’s immediate past Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as Chairperson of the Board of Directors of GAVI.

Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has, until recently, claimed the Nigerian economy is in perfect shape

In the petition signed by CSNAC Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, and made available to newsmen in Lagos, the coalition stated that its call for a review on Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment was based on the circumstances surrounding the suspicious and unpatriotic refund of $2.2m paid by Nigeria to GAVI.

While noting that the appointment of the former Minister as Chairperson of the Board of Directors of GAVI brings to fore a case of serious conflict of interest, in the unprofessional and unpatriotic refund of $2.2m, the group noted that, “the appointment also shows that she was being rewarded for her “loyalty” to the organization at the detriment of her country. The refund made without consultation with the Ministry of Health also exposed the gross abuse of office by the former minister.”

“In view of the above, CSNAC is therefore by this petition, requesting that the recent appointment of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as chairperson of the Board of Directors be reviewed and suspended until all the spurious allegations against Nigeria under this audit are proven by GAVI and the circumstances surrounding the suspicious and unpatriotic refund of the $2.2m are resolved.”

Giving its narration in the petition, the group explains that, “In the wake of media reports of indictment by the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization (GAVI) against the Federal Government of Nigeria over alleged misuse of funds through the Federal Ministry of Health and National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) for the purpose of children vaccination in the country, we petitioned the NPHCDA to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), demanding a thorough investigation into the allegations that has globally dented the image of the county. 

“Following our petition on this matter and reportage of same by local and international news media, we received a response, accompanied with evidences, from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), controverting claims that were contained in the GAVI's Cash Program Audit (CPA).

“Through voluntary support of volunteers, partners and members of our network, we undertook independent investigation of the allegations contained in the CPA report and, confirmation of assertions and proof provided by NPHCDA. These included independent and unannounced visitation to site of incinerators in Borno, Adamawa, Gombe, Bauchi, Nasarawa, Niger, Kano, Kaduna by these volunteers. However, our investigations revealed findings at variance with basis of fraud allegations contained in the report of GAVI, through its Cash Program Audit (C.P.A) on cash grants allocated to Nigeria from 2011-2013. 

“We also found a letter written by the New York office of UNICEF, a UN agency and an internationally reputed organisation, officially debunking claims in the GAVI report, as it concerns their transactions with NPHCDA under the contract. The Federal Inland Revenue Services did wrote to acknowledge receipt of taxes deducted by NPHCDA, as against position of GAVI. The Corporate Affairs Commission further provided evidence controverting malicious claims NPHCDA award of contract to fictitious and unregistered company, as contained in the CPA report. 

“The Alliance further continued with its smear campaign of Nigeria by misinterpreting the Letter of Understanding dated October 17, 2014 written by the former Minister of Health Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu as an admission of guilt in the alleged mismanagement of $2.2m, whereas, he had demanded a joint post audit reconciliation of the disputed CPA report and also committed the government to refund any unused fund discovered after the joint reconciliation with GAVI.

“Our several requests to GAVI for evidence to corroborate the spurious allegations in its indicting report were rebuffed. Despite huge facts that emerged from our investigation and that of the EFCC, controverting GAVI’s claim to fraud in its dealings with Nigeria under the audited period, the immediate past Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, under a questionable manner, Unprecedented in the history of the country, went ahead and discreetly refundedthe controversial $2.2m to your organization without recourse to NPHCDA or the EFCC,” the petition reads.

Read the full petition below:


 

                                                                                                                                           17th October, 2015

Dr. Seth Berkley,

The Chief Executive Officer,

GAVI, The Vaccine Alliance,

1776 I (eye) street, NW

Suite 600

Washington DC, 20006

USA
 

Dear Sir,
 

RE: APPOINTMENT OF DR. NGOZI OKONJO-IWEALA AS CHAIRPERSON OF GAVI BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) is a coalition of over hundred and fifty Anti-corruption organizations whose primary aim is to constructively combat corruption vigorously and to ensure the effective monitoring of the various Anti-graft agencies in the fight against corruption and contribute towards the enthronement of transparency, accountability, probity and total commitment in the fight to eradicate corruption in Nigeria.

In the wake of media reports of indictment by the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization (GAVI) against the Federal Government of Nigeria over alleged misuse of funds through the Federal Ministry of Health and National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) for the purpose of children vaccination in the country, we petitioned the NPHCDA to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), demanding a thorough investigation into the allegations that has globally dented the image of the county. Following our petition on this matter and reportage of same by local and international news media, we received a response, accompanied with evidences, from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), controverting claims that were contained in the GAVI's Cash Program Audit (CPA).

Through voluntary support of volunteers, partners and members of our network, we undertook independent investigation of the allegations contained in the CPA report and, confirmation of assertions and proof provided by NPHCDA. These included independent and unannounced visitation to site of incinerators in Borno, Adamawa, Gombe, Bauchi, Nasarawa, Niger, Kano, Kaduna by these volunteers. However, our investigations revealed findings at variance with basis of fraud allegations contained in the report of GAVI, through its Cash Program Audit (C.P.A) on cash grants allocated to Nigeria from 2011-2013. 

We also found a letter written by the New York office of UNICEF, a UN agency and an internationally reputed organisation, officially debunking claims in the GAVI report, as it concerns their transactions with NPHCDA under the contract. The Federal Inland Revenue Services did wrote to acknowledge receipt of taxes deducted by NPHCDA, as against position of GAVI. The Corporate Affairs Commission further provided evidence controverting malicious claims NPHCDA award of contract to fictitious and unregistered company, as contained in the CPA report. 

The Alliance further continued with its smear campaign of Nigeria by misinterpreting the Letter of Understanding dated October 17, 2014 written by the former Minister of Health Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu as an admission of guilt in the alleged mismanagement of $2.2m, whereas, he had demanded a joint post audit reconciliation of the disputed CPA report and also committed the government to refund any unused fund discovered after the joint reconciliation with GAVI. Our several requests to GAVI for evidence to corroborate the spurious allegations in its indicting report were rebuffed.

Despite huge facts that emerged from our investigation and that of the EFCC, controverting GAVI’s claim to fraud in its dealings with Nigeria, under the audited period, the immediate past Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, under a questionable manner, Unprecedented in the history of the country, went ahead and discreetly refunded the controversial $2.2m to your organization without recourse to NPHCDA or the EFCC.

Her latest appointment as Chairperson of the Board of Directors of GAVI brings to fore a case of serious conflict of interest, in the unprofessional and unpatriotic refund of $2.2m, and which also shows that she was being rewarded for her “loyalty” to the organisation at the detriment of her country. The refund made without consultation with the Ministry of Health also exposed the gross abuse of office by the former minister.

In view of the above, CSNAC is therefore by this petition, requesting that the recent appointment of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as chairperson of the Board of Directors be reviewed and suspended until all the spurious allegations against Nigeria under this audit are proven by GAVI and the circumstances surrounding the suspicious and unpatriotic refund of the $2.2m are resolved.

We have appropriately petitioned the Nigerian Government on this matter and some of your funding partners will be copied in this protest letter. 

 

Yours faithfully,

Olanrewaju Suraju

Chairman

Cc: Susan Desmond-Hellmann

      CEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

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