US To Investigate Funding Of Anti-Malaria Initiatives In Nigeria

Malaria Drugs
USAID says some of the funds meant for malaria drugs were diverted by Nigerians.

The US government says it is setting up a framework within Nigeria to help curb the proliferation of fake and adulterated antimalarial drugs.

To this end, the United States government has launched a campaign against the theft and counterfeiting of antimalarial drugs donated by the American government to support the National Malarial Control Program in Nigeria.

The Deputy Inspector General in charge of the American supported Malarial Control Program in Africa in USAID, Jonathan Schofield told journalists in Abuja on Tuesday that the Make A Difference campaign is aimed at arresting those who fake or divert antimalarial products for personal use.

According to him, antimalarial products including treated bed nets and medicines carrying the USAID brand, are meant to be distributed free of charge,  as part of the contribution of the American government to eradicate malaria in Nigeria.

To achieve this, the US government is promising to give monetary reward for any useful information that would lead to the arrest  of syndicates who hoard or fake the USAID funded malaria products in Nigeria.

Under the MAD campaign, Mr Schofield urged any Nigerian whistle-blower who has information and facts about the diversions to contact the US authorities through the telephone line – 08099937319.

A  director at the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), Dr Godwin Ntadom, said the quality of medicines used in the treatment of malaria in Nigeria is one of the major issues facing the fight against the disease in the country.

He raised alarm that the increasing availability of counterfeit drugs hampers the international drive to fight malaria.

Mr Ntadom says the proliferation of such fake drugs have disastrous consequences like treatment failure and even death.

Nigeria records about 100 million malaria cases with about 300,000 deaths each year.
Nigeria records about 100 million malaria cases with about 300,000 deaths each year.

Probing the funds

The USAID executive also hinted at a probe of  how the funds deployed to different USAID anti-malaria initiatives were expended.

He says such probe will be restricted to US funded projects and would be done in partnership with Nigerian law enforcement officials.

Mr Schofield said such investigation will look into alleged illicit activities like diversion, kick backs, and embezzlement of funds meant for health programmes.

ASUP Urges President Buhari To Probe Education Sector

asup The leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has urged the President to probe the funding of the education sector at all levels, stating that corruption, misappropriation and embezzlement of funds have been the major issue militating against the growth of the sector.

Speaking at an event organized by the Nekede Polytechnic Chapter of ASUP in Owerri, Imo State Capital, the National President of the Union, Comrade Chibuzor Asomuga, said the union totally supports the present crusade of federal government’s war against corruption.

Comrade Asomuga urged President Buhari to pay more attention to the education sector.

He added that the government needs to do a reappraisal of funding of institutions at every level and track how the funds have been utilized.

Also speaking on the agreement between ASUP and the Federal Government, Mr Asomuga said the former administration failed in achieving any of their  agreement, after many promises that made them call off the over 12 months strike in all the polytechnics last year.

He however urged the present government of President Buhari to be more sensitive to the agitations and plights of the union.

N747.2 Million Fraud: Lawmakers Indict Zamfara SUBEB Chairman

The Zamfara State House Of Assembly has indicted the chairman of the State’s Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Murtala Jangebe, in a N747.2 million fraud.

A report by a panel set up by the assembly to investigate the operations of the SUBEB accused Mr Jangebe of operating 15 different bank accounts in separate banks from which he makes frivolous and unwarranted withdrawals without approvals from either the board or the governor of the state.

Amongst the findings of the panel are several discrepancies in the board’s accounts including a ‘pensions account’ operated in Ecobank, where the indicted chairman allegedly made illegal expenditure of N148.6 million without any approval.

Part of the panel’s report reads, “due to excessive misappropriation of public funds entrusted upon the present chairman, Murtala Jangebe, the committee does not have trust in him to administer the Zamfara state universal basic education board.

“As a result, the committee recommends that prosecution be made for criminal disregard to laid down financial regulations for all those found guilty through the state attorney general.”

 

Zambia Strips Ex-president Of Immunity From Prosecution

Zambia’s parliament stripped former President Rupiah Banda of immunity from prosecution on Friday, clearing the way for investigators to arrest him for corruption-related offences.

Banda is accused of abuse of office, corrupt acquisition of public property and misappropriation of public funds involving more than $11 million during his tenure as president.

Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba said the government had concluded its investigations and were ready to prosecute.

“We bring this motion in the interest of the country,” Kabimba said,

Banda was swept from office in 2011 by current President Michael Sata, whose government has launched several high-profile graft probes into deals struck by the former administration while it ran Africa’s biggest copper-producing country.

Kabimba has accused Banda of siphoning $2.5 million from the treasury in a 2008 oil deal and the former president has also been accused of using public funds to finance his 2011 campaign.

Banda’s lawyer Robert Amsterdam said in a statement that Friday’s action in parliament was aimed at getting rid of political competitors.

Sata’s government has already won convictions against a few Banda officials and has been investigating suspected shortfalls in tax collection revenues from copper.

In February, Banda who then enjoyed immunity from prosecution, refused to appear before a team of investigators, which summoned him for questioning on graft allegations.