Zambia's Auditor-General to finalise report by end of August
Geneva, 8 August 2011 - In keeping with GAVI's policy on transparency in the oversight of cash-based programmes, its Deputy CEO recently updated the GAVI Board on the status of cash-based programmes in Zambia.
In mid-2009, GAVI suspended disbursements to Zambia's ISS and HSS programmes, following allegations of misuse in other donor programmes in the country, which had prompted several other donors to suspend their disbursements.
The suspension was put in place pending an audit by the Zambia Office of the Auditor General. This audit, which examined US$ 5.3 million in GAVI's immunisation services support and health system strengthening support during the period 2006-2009, has recently identified instances of misuse of GAVI funds. Based on the GAVI Secretariat's current understanding, these instances represent a small percentage of the total amount examined.
Because the audit covers a four-year period, and because the financial statements had to be redone prior to audit, the audit process has taken a relatively long time.
In the last week of July, a delegation from the Secretariat, including GAVI's Internal Auditor, met with the Zambia Auditor General, the then Minister of Health and other relevant Ministry officials, and in-country partners, to discuss the situation.
The audit report is expected to be finalised by the end of August 2011. The Government has confirmed its commitment to reimburse any monies that are ultimately determined to have been misused.
Although disbursements for cash-based programmes remain suspended pending completion of the audit, GAVI's vaccine support (in kind) to Zambia has continued uninterrupted to ensure that children continue to be protected against vaccine-preventable diseases.