8 Arrested in Guinea for Illicit Sale of Antimalarial Drugs

USAID Office of Inspector General Moves to Stop Theft of U.S.-Funded Commodities

CONAKRY, Guinea, Jan. 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — This week, an investigation by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Inspector General (OIG) led local authorities in Guinea to arrest 8 individuals for illegally selling drugs to fight malaria. The arrests came after weeks of joint investigative work by OIG and the Guinean National Gendarmerie to secure evidence of theft, diversion, and resale of U.S. Government-funded antimalarial commodities.

OIG opened its investigation based on reports from U.S. Government staff that USAID-funded commodities, typically made available at no cost, were being unlawfully sold in Conakry’s public marketplaces. This week’s law enforcement action involved nearly 100 local police officers who acted to apprehend individuals in five separate marketplaces with OIG providing logistical support.  The investigation is ongoing.

The U.S. Government fights malaria through the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), which focuses on 19 countries in Africa, including Guinea. Malaria is endemic in Guinea and causes more deaths there than any other disease.  PMI funding in the country has exceeded $72 million since Fiscal Year 2011 and amounted to $15 million in Fiscal Year 2016 alone. Additional U.S. funding supports malaria programs under the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

“Making each U.S. foreign assistance dollar count is critical and the theft, diversion, and resale of life-saving drugs means they’re not going to Guineans who need them most,” said USAID Inspector General Ann Calvaresi Barr. “Fraud of any kind is unacceptable, but profiting illicitly from health programs is especially egregious.  We pursue these cases aggressively and ask anyone with information about the theft of these commodities, in Guinea or elsewhere, to contact our office immediately.”

In Guinea, OIG continues to seek specific information on the logistics, operational methods, and procedures used in the theft of U.S. Government-funded antimalarial commodities and by the suppliers of counterfeit medicine.

Any person with knowledge of these activities is urged to contact OIG:

OIG conducts independent investigations and audits to make U.S. foreign assistance programs more efficient, effective, and accountable. Information reported to OIG is treated in confidence and OIG protects the identity of each person providing information to the maximum extent provided by law.

Recently, OIG expanded its fight against fraud, waste, and abuse in U.S.-supported malaria programs throughout Africa. Its “Make A Difference” (MAD) campaigns in Malawi, Benin, and Nigeria publicly call for citizens to oppose theft and counterfeiting of antimalarial commodities and to recognize the dangers they present.  Special MAD Malaria hotlines in these countries offer monetary rewards for information about abuses in malaria programs. Anyone with information should contact OIG:

Malawi
Call 800 00 847 (toll free)

Nigeria
Call 8099937319 (toll free from the Etisalat mobile network)

Benin
Call 81000100 to be connected via operator to 855-484-1033 (toll free)

Worldwide
Email: madmalariahotline@usaid.gov

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