The GAVI Alliance "has put on hold some $6 million earmarked for Sierra Leone after an audit showed misuse of previous funds, a document seen by Reuters showed," Reuters reports. "The leaked letter from the GAVI Alliance dated November 15, 2012, and addressed to Sierra Leone's health minister says an in-depth audit revealed 'serious concerns of misuse of GAVI funds' totaling $1,099,640," the news agency writes, adding, "A GAVI spokesman said the irregularities, which included undocumented expenses, cash disbursements with no documentation and overcharged procurement costs, occurred from 2008 until 2012."
Reuters reports that "the organization froze the last disbursement of a current grant" and "a new two-year grant ... currently under final consideration." The news agency adds, "Sierra Leone's government must now commit to reimbursing the misused funds and those found responsible for abuses must face administrative or legal proceedings before the grants will be unfrozen, the letter said." The office of Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma "said in a statement it remained committed to programs supported by GAVI and other development partners," Reuters reports (Akam, 12/20).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.