By Adebayo Williams
Seven officials of the Federal Ministry of Health have been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. The officials, from the Department of Health Planning, Research and Statistics, were arrested in connection with the stealing of $4 million donated to the country by Global Fund to aid its fight against AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. The officials’ arrest was said to have been ordered by the Presidency.
“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,” a source told Punch.
The alleged theft of the money was reported by Global Fund through the Office of the Inspector-General of Police. It alleged irregularities such as the payment of $20m to suppliers without confirming delivery and the failure to account for $3.7m supposedly spent on anti-retroviral drugs. The suspects were also said to have been falsifying hotel bills, inflating hotel bills, claiming costs for travels they did not embark on and collecting bribes from hotel operators and suppliers. It also said it had stopped sending funds to Nigeria.