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Hundreds of millions of naira arise for HIV campaigns, counselling and testing casework may acquire assured in clandestine pockets of contractors and government officials, as companies were accurately registered to backpack funds meant to save the lives of the infected.
Brazenly baseborn money
In October of 2015, National Bureau for the Control of AIDS (NACA) awarded 38 affairs to 23 firms at the amount of N1.2 billion. Their aggregate responsibilities were to conduct HIV counselling, testing and appeal conception for HIV casework in 26 out of Nigeria’s 36 states.
That year, NACA bankrupt its own budgetary almanac as its basal anniversary of N1, 930,500,120 was absolutely arise and spent to the aftermost kobo. Three years bottomward the line, The ICIR investigations reveal, the accolade of affairs for these casework were a appearance to backpack accessible funds. No casework were meant to be rendered and none were eventually delivered. Yet, monies were arise from accompaniment coffers and allegedly accounted for.
In the all-around efforts to rid the apple of HIV, the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), adroit agent, letters say that new HIV infections are not action bottomward in Nigeria and, thus, still poses a accessible bloom threat. Advocates abide to altercate that blockage and analysis programmes charge to be scaled up.
But rather than calibration up blockage in the country, The ICIR investigations appearance the companies NACA awarded affairs are, to a ample extent, questionable. In addition, three of these firms fabricated abroad with N289 million, afterwards active any traceable HIV counselling and testing services.
Two of the companies — Duxford Integrated Casework Limited (DISL) and Carsons All-around Casework Limited (CGSL) were, according to annal scrutinised, registered with the Corporate Affairs Agency (CAC) on the aforementioned day — May 2, 2014. The third company, Corn Idea Limited (CIL), was registered on November 26 of the aforementioned year.
Another arresting analysis was that the three companies acquire accepted buying and are amidst in the aforementioned address. Ifeanyi Iyizoba doubles as a administrator and majority actor in all, while Afunanya Jude Chinweze is the sole secretary of the three companies.
Each of the companies has N1 actor allotment capital. In the breakdown, Iyizoba has N600, 000 shares anniversary in Duxford Integrated Casework Limited and Carsons All-around Casework Limited, while a altered person, alleged Martin Samuel, owns the actual N400, 000 allotment basal each.
In the third company, Corn Idea Limited, Ifeanyi Iyizoba is activate to be the basal actor with N900, 000 allotment capital, while a new name, Ndubuisi Iyizoba, owns aloof N100, 000 shares in the company.
Also, DISL and CGSL acquire the aforementioned basal objective: “to backpack on the business of trading of accepted contracts, sales and administration of accepted goods”.
The third company, CIL, has a altered objective: “to backpack on the business of communication, telecommunication casework and software design”.
Thus, none of the three companies that anchored affairs from NACA to conduct HIV counselling and testing casework in nine states renders any anatomy of bloom casework as their basal objectives indicate.
A breakdown of the affairs awarded to the three companies by NACA shows that DISL got N37 actor for Kebi, N27 actor for Imo, and N29 actor for Benue state. CGSL got two affairs at N32 actor for Bayelsa and N34 actor for Plateau states.
Corn Idea Limited accustomed the accomplished cardinal of affairs with N27 actor for Katsina, N37 actor for Federal Basal Territory (FCT), N38 actor for Bauchi, and N28 actor for Zamfara states.
By the awards of these arguable contracts, NACA did not alone breach requirements of the Public Accretion Act (PPA) of 2007, the bureau additionally abandoned its own laid bottomward procedures and processes.
Earlier in July 2015, NACA advertised expressions of absorption from competent firms. The requirements were that absorbed companies should be ones with aerial ability and acquaintance in HIV services. They were asked to administer for the affairs in adjustment to enhance accelerated scale-up of HIV casework in the communities as able-bodied as Blockage of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV/AIDS.
A key bureau in NACA’s accommodation belief was that -to-be applicants charge acquire completed at atomic three accustomed agnate consultancy services.
However, accusation by The ICIRshow that the three companies never handled any action or anniversary of any affectionate above-mentioned to their accepting the HIV counselling and testing affairs from NACA.
Even till date, there is no almanac to ascertain that the three companies actuality advised acquire done any works aback they were registered. The alone ‘credible’ advice about them was that they were awarded affairs for which they abridgement able adequacy by NACA.
In announcement the contracts, NACA asked applicants to provide: “evidence of tax acquittal for the accomplished three (3) afterwards years; that is, for years 2012-to-2014, affirmation of VAT allotment and affidavit of accomplished remittances, and audited anniversary of anniversary for aforementioned antecedent three (3) afterwards years of 2012-to- 2014.”
But, evidently, the three companies were activate not to acquire been able to accommodated the defined requirements because they were alone accustomed the antecedent year 2014. In fact, CIL which got the accomplished affairs was registered eight months afore NACA advertised for the announcement of interest.
Furthermore, NACA asked applicants to accommodate “detailed aggregation profile, abstruse experience/qualification of key personnel, registered address, name, anatomic location, blast numbers, and e-mail address” to addition their accommodation to bid for the job. Surprisingly, the alone anniversary that attests to the companies’ actuality is the affidavit of allotment with CAC.
When The ICIRtraced the abode of the three companies amidst at 169, Ademola Adetokunbo Crescent, Wuse 2, Abuja, as filed in their allotment with CAC, all-encompassing about-face was advancing in the building. The building’s foreman who articular himself as Lewis said the anatomy was a residential accommodation adapted into a plaza.
After accepting a buzz chat with addition whom he believed knew about the antecedent residents, Lewis afterwards told our anchorman that the actuality said neither the companies nor the individuals mentioned anytime busy any assignment amplitude in the building.
An amazing aberration in the advance of analysis is that Ifeanyi Iyizoba, the benign buyer of the companies, could not be articular till the time of this report. All attempts to trace him on amusing media amidst added media drew blank. In fact, a NACA official told The ICIRthat no agents of the bureau accepted about alive whom Iyizoba is.
The ICIRalso contacted several agents of added organisations that accommodate HIV casework but none of them knew Iyizoba. Even few journalists advertisement the heath exhausted said they too did not apperceive Iyizoba.
Similarly, on the amusing media, accounts associated with Ifeanyi Iyizoba arise abeyant authoritative his online attendance hazy. In particular, a Facebook anniversary with his name was aftermost adapted in 2014. The contour anniversary by the name charcoal the alone uploaded photo on the anniversary till date. Also, added three names associated with the companies do not acquire reliable online presence.
Every accomplishment fabricated by TheICIRto ascertain the absoluteness of the companies’ actuality as able-bodied as the believability of the bodies abaft them led to a asleep end. Accessible facts appearance that the individuals abaft the companies abide faceless.
As bargain accepted in the accretion circle, the attitude of these companies fit into the anniversary of “briefcase companies”, a appellation acclimated to call those offices operating from their portfolios. They additionally acquire that these kinds of companies are frequently registered and sponsored by accessible civilian agents to accolade affairs to themselves beneath affected names.
Shielding the fraud
After two months of investigations, The ICIR found no affirmation that the companies that were awarded affairs by the NACA conducted any anatomy of HIV counselling and testing casework in the declared states.
The ICIR earlier accomplished out to NACA by sending Freedom of Advice (FOI) appeal to seek description on the cachet of the affairs with the companies. But the bureau delayed to acknowledge to the appeal to accommodate the exact names of the communities or bloom accessories breadth the companies administered the HIV counselling and testing services.
Not alone that NACA hesitated, but additionally that The ICIRwas not the aboriginal organisation that NACA denied advice on the accommodation of the HIV counselling and testing contracts.
The Auditor Accepted for the Federation, Anthony Ayine, in the 2016 analysis abode submitted to the National Assembly (NASS) in June 2018 acclaimed that: “during the assay of sampled acquittal vouchers, it was empiric that affairs for HIV counselling and testing beat and attack at the association akin beyond the states and the FCT were awarded to assorted contractors during the year 2015.” He added that “all efforts fabricated to admission the arrangement files for analysis analysis were not successful.
Ayine acclaimed that the implications of his actuality denied admission to the arrangement files is that, “NACA bankrupt the law.”
He stressed: “This was a abuse of Section 85(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (1999) and Financial Regulation 110 which especially accommodate that my Arrangement will acquire able admission to all appropriate documents, accounts and added records.”
The AGF afresh apprenticed the NASS to bulldoze the Administrator Accepted (DG) of NACA to accomplish accessible all the accordant contractors’ files for analysis scrutiny. But the NASS, according to findings, has not yet acted on Ayine’s request.
John Idoko was the DG of NACA in 2015. Afore acceptable NACA’s DG from April 2009 to August 2016, Idoko was a assistant of anesthetic at the University of Jos in Plateau Accompaniment and President, Nigerian AIDS Research Network. He was replaced by the accepted DG, Sani Aliyu.
NACA, accustomed in 2001, initially alleged National Action Board on AIDS, was set up to alike multi-sectoral acknowledgment to HIV/AIDS, including accommodating with all-embracing organisations. It became an bureau of the Federal Government in 2007, beneath the admiral and anon supervised by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
Trailing the HIV projects in the states
Not giving up on the absorbed to break the accuracy of the situations, The ICIRtrailed the declared HIV counselling and testing casework accommodating by the three companies – DISL, CGSL and CIL to three states and the FCT. Amazingly, no such casework were rendered in the defined states.
A Association Mobilisation Specialist in the Federal Basal Territory Bureau for the Control of AIDS, Angela Emenalo, told The ICIR that she never heard of Corn Idea Limited.
“No organisation by that name has anytime done any such HIV assignment in the nation’s capital,” she affirmed.
Emenalo continued: “If any HIV action was done by the aggregation you mentioned in any allotment of FCT, I will apperceive because the mobilisation admiral in the six breadth councils abode to me.”
Emenalo explained that every HIV projects will acquire letters on the cardinal of bodies activated and contacts of those that activated positive, and assured emphatically, “I insist, I don’t apperceive annihilation about this arrangement you are talking about. I never heard of it. Go and ask NACA for the report.”
Similarly, Ileimokumo Ogregade, Administrator General, Bayelsa Accompaniment Bureau for the Control of AIDS, could not acquisition annal of a 2015 NACA’s N32 actor arrangement of HIV counselling and testing action purportedly conducted by any aggregation alleged CGSL in the state.
Ogregade, who was by 2015 not the DG, instructed his ecology and appraisal administrator to run through their archives. Again, there was no advertence to any HIV action by CGSL in Bayelsa State. There were additionally no agents of the bureau who had anytime heard of the company.
In Bauchi State, the administrator of HIV and AIDS programme, Danladi Mohammed, said he had no ability of N38 actor arrangement awarded to CIL by NACA in the state. Mohammed referred The ICIR aback to NACA as he noted: “I anticipate the best affair is maybe you ask the bureau to specify absolutely back they conducted this action and where.”
Then, afterwards calling his antecedent to enquire about the project, Mohammed was told that NACA already came to Bauchi to apparatus HIV-related activities, but the accompaniment did not acquire the almanac of any action by the aggregation actuality investigated.
The DG said: “we cannot say Corn Idea Limited was here. And we’ll not be fair to them if we say they were not here. Honestly, we all charge description from NACA.”
He took The ICIR through the way they operate. He explained that bloom accessories booty almanac and upload abstracts on HIV counselling and testing to the National Bloom Administration Advice System (NHMIS).
So, for them to apperceive the cardinal of bodies activated in a accurate ages in the state, Mohammed said, “I will artlessly analysis the NHMIS platform.”
He emphasised that any organisation that conducts HIV testing in a association charge allotment the abstracts with the abutting bloom ability there. The bloom ability will afresh almanac the names and contacts, as able-bodied as basal biological advice of those that activated absolute into its HIV testing casework register.
Director General, Benue Accompaniment Bureau for the Control of AIDS, Gideon Dura, banned to affirm or abnegate whether a 2015 NACA N29 actor HIV counselling and testing action awarded to DISL anytime captivated in the accompaniment or not.
“If you ask me about HIV prevalence in Benue State, I will activate to busy on it. But back you appear accurately for a accurate organisation whether came and did article here, you don’t acquire a letter from those bodies up there, I will not appear to you,” Dura said sternly.
Insisting that he bare to see a letter from either NACA or Federal Ministry of Bloom afore he could affirm whether the aggregation did HIV counselling and testing in the state, Dura said: “in Benue State, I’m the eye of DG of NACA. And as you know, we don’t acknowledgment journalists like that. It is baleful to acknowledgment journalists afterwards due approval from the top.”
A few canicule later, The ICIR contacted a accessory agents who helped to comb through files in the office. He afterwards accepted that the accompaniment never had affairs with DISL on any HIV activity.
To get a acknowledgment from the agency, The ICIRshared its accusation with Toyin Aderibigbe, Head of Corporate Advice for NACA.
But rather than acknowledge anon to the accusation in the states, NACA beatific its acknowledgment to the FOI appeal it had beforehand ignored. The ICIR, had on November 13 beatific the FOI appeal to NACA. On November 20, a archetype of the FOI accepting cancellation was presented to Aderibigbe to facilitate alert response.
In a letter active by Adeolu Aiyewumi, Head of Legal Unit, NACA, and anachronous December 17 but accustomed by The ICIRon December 21, the bureau apologised for not accouterment the requested advice aural the seven canicule defined by the FOIA “as these activities were conducted in 2015 and a chiral of our archived files had be done to retrieve the advice appropriate to accommodate you with a able-bodied response.”
Aiyewumi accustomed that The ICIRspecifically requested for the names of communities or bloom accessories breadth the companies conducted HIV counselling and testing but he provided alone the Local Government Areas (LGAs) breadth the activities were purportedly conducted.
He additionally accepted that NACA affianced the companies to conduct HIV counselling, testing and appeal conception for HIV casework in nine states in 2015.
According to Aiyewumi, the companies submitted letters with the afterward results:
However, NACA’s abstracts stands in aciculate adverse to the realities activate in the visited states. It additionally fails to address The ICIR’s aboriginal appeal which was for the names of communities or bloom accessories that the HIV counselling and testing casework took place.
In the abstracts provided by Aiyewumi, alone names of LGAs were presented as communities thereby authoritative the certificate vague, accustomed that corresponding LGAs has about 10 wards with hundreds of settlements.
And, were the HIV counselling and testing casework absolutely done as NACA claimed, annal of those that activated absolute would acquire been accustomed to the abutting bloom accessories to arise treatment. And if the counselling and testing were done in bloom facilities, those bloom accessories would acquire the annal of those that activated absolute in their registers.
To boldness the disparities, NACA’s spokesperson, Toyin Aderibigbe, promised to facilitate a affair between The ICIRand NACA on December 24 to abode the beginning apropos to accordingly appraise the letters purportedly submitted by the three companies. Appear this day, NACA’s agent reneged on her agreement to align the meeting.
NACA’s acknowledgment to FOI appeal did not acknowledgment why states’ agencies did not apperceive about the companies and the HIV activities claimed to acquire been conducted in their locale. It additionally did not accommodate the names of the communities or the bloom accessories that the counselling and testing took place. This blooper has additionally fabricated acknowledging the abstracts a difficult task.
In the face of the contradictions, the apprehensive abstracts purportedly submitted by the three companies could acquire formed allotment of the 7,238,594 bodies that were claimed to be counselled and activated beyond Nigeria in 2015.
It was out of this cardinal that NACA additionally presented in its anniversary abode that 264,476 activated HIV positive. Consequently, Nigeria may not yet acquire dependable abstracts on numbers of bodies counselled and activated for HIV.
Health experts say HIV abstracts bind banned the action adjoin the virus and that is why the world’s better anytime population-based HIV/AIDS analysis is currently actuality conducted to actuate the administration of the ache in Nigeria. Also, the aftereffect of the donor-funded Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey, which began in June, is accepted to be arise in the aboriginal division of 2019.
On December 26, NACA’s continued accessible acknowledgment to The ICIR’s accusation was e-mailed to the reporter. The bureau common its angle that the companies conducted HIV counselling and testing casework in the states. Actuality is the NACA’s abounding statement:
“In your follow-on email to our Head of Corporate Advice anachronous 5th December 2018, you aggregate the accusation of your investigation. We acclaim your organisation for administering an absolute analysis and administration the accusation with us. We acquire advised your accusation and ambition to accommodate the responses below. It is our achievement that these responses will added adorn your abode and abutment the acceptable assignment you are accomplishing to advance accountability and accuracy in the use of accessible funds in Nigeria.
We are admiring to acquaint you that NACA administration is absolutely committed to accuracy and accountability of accessible funds. Our arrangement accolade action is able-bodied and carefully follows due process. The DG has instituted a multi-layered appraisal action to ensure any absurdity of blank or agency by the aboriginal appraisal aggregation are best up and rectified by the added akin evaluators who are usually carefully called and are absolute of the aboriginal set of evaluators. This action is different to NACA and has ensured that any errors or collusions as a aftereffect of battle of absorption are promptly articular and dealt with. We acquire additionally included the acquiescence of CAC Forms C02 and C07 which will accredit us analyze companies with aforementioned directors. Furthermore, in band with new charge by the Bureau of Accessible Accretion (BPP), every aggregation is appropriate to book the names and countries of agent of its admiral on their card (please see a sample of our contempo advert for affairs in Annex 2).
“We ambition to already afresh acclaim your organisation for demography up this blue-blooded account which aligns with NACA’s amount ethics and the accepted administration’s aught altruism for corruption. While this arrangement took abode above-mentioned to the advancing of the accepted DG, we are committed to ensuring that all affairs in NACA chase due process, are cellophane and chargeless from any disproportionate arrest by alien or centralized conflicted parties, in band with the DG’s attempt of justice, candor and a level-playing acreage for all. We are consistently accessible to abutment you in any way achievable in this regard. Should you crave added advice on this matter, amuse do not alternate to acquaintance the undersigned. Amuse acquire the balmy assurances of the Administrator General.”
NACA’s e-mailed anniversary was active by Adeolu Aiyewumi, Head of Legal Unit. The ICIRreceived adamantine copies of the letters submitted to NACA by the companies on 28 December.
The letters did not acknowledgment communities or bloom accessories breadth the HIV counselling and testing casework took place. The letters did not additionally accommodate the names of the bloom accessories breadth those that activated HIV absolute were referred to.
Based on the reports, there was no advice that could advance to affirm that the companies conducted the HIV casework they claimed they did.
This analysis is accurate by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
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