The Federal Ministry of Health have been arrested by the Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission for allegedly diverting over $4 million
intended for the fight against AIDS.
The stolen money was donated to Nigeria by an international financing
organization, Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
Global Fund had in May sent a petition to the Inspector-General of
Police, Solomon Arase, accusing health officials of stealing the funds
The Fund pointed out several irregularities including $20 million
payment to suppliers before delivery was confirmed and $3.7 million
which cannot be accounted for but was allegedly spent on anti-retroviral
The organisation further claimed that seven health officials were
linked to the diverted funds through inflation of hotel bills, fake
receipts, collaborating with operators and suppliers, false expenditure
According to Punch, a source at the EFCC privy to the
development said the arrest was carried out following a directive by the
The seven suspects are from the department of Health Planning,
Research and Statistics, and were in charge of managing the fund which
they allegedly stole.
“The Presidency directed the Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu,
to investigate the matter. We have made arrests and we are currently
compiling our report. We will send it to the Presidency and then charge
the suspects to court.”
“President Muhammadu Buhari was not happy that the money that was
meant to be used in saving lives was stolen. We take this seriously just
like the arms scam.”
In an email exchange with Punch, Global health fund said, “The
government of Nigeria has responded in a responsible and energetic way.”
“We are very encouraged by the commitment shown by the current
government of Nigeria to dealing with the issues raised in the audit
report by the Global Fund’s Office of the Inspector-General of Police.
We are cooperating with the Government of Nigeria on these issues, but
we are not actively involved in investigations being performed by the
Government of Nigeria.”
In a separate report, Global Fund noted that it had stopped disbursing funds to Nigeria.