Cameroon’s Audit Bench has released its first report on the management of funds dedicated for the country’s response to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, revealing gross abuses committed at the level of Ministries, including Public Health and Scientific Research and Innovation.
The report is contained in a 23-page document which focuses on Administrations that played a central role in the response plan against the virus and those that benefitted from significant budgetary allocations.
According to the document, at the Ministry of Public Health, over FCFA 20 billion were embezzled as far as purchasing protective equipment for health workers was concerned.
It discloses that purchasing operations were done in violation of acquisition rules.
The report equally notes that prices of equipment were abusively increased, the disappearance of thousands of COVID-19 kits, the over allocation of budget for some activities, and the monopoly given to a single enterprise charged to provide rapid COVID-19 test kits among other abuses stated.
As for the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation, the Audit Bench says more the FCFA 4 billion was budgeted for the local production of Chloroquine and Azitromycine.
It notes that surprisingly, the Ministry did not manufactured the aforementioned but purchased 5 million tablets of hydrocychloroquine, 500,000 tablets of azitromycine from India, then repackaged it back when it got to Cameroon.
The report adds that though neither Chloroquine nor Azitromycine were produced locally, over FCFA 15 million was disbursed for the renovation of the site meant for the production.
The Audit Bench has noted 30 mismanagement misconduct procedures by officials of the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation and recommends the opening of ten proceedings concerning files that may constitute offenses against criminal law.