Six Arrested and Held in Zambia for Illicit Sale of HIV and Antimalarial Products

Investigation by USAID Inspector General Leads to Joint Law Enforcement Action   

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Last week, authorities in Zambia arrested and held six individuals, including two pharmacy owners, involved in the illicit sale of HIV and malaria test kits in Lusaka, the country’s capital. The arrests took place using evidence gathered during a 5 month-long investigation by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Inspector General (OIG).

In the weeks prior to the arrests, OIG carried out joint investigative work with the Zambia National Task Force (ZNTF).  The task force consists of the Zambia Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC), Zambia Medical Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA), Ministry of Health (MOH) and Zambia police.

“We coordinate closely with international partners to thwart the work of criminals who prey upon the U.S. Government-supported global health supply chain,” said Jonathan Schofield, OIG’s Special Agent in Charge overseeing global health investigations.  “Our recent work with partners in the U.S. Embassy in Zambia and ZNTF has stopped several offenders who exploited international aid for personal gain.  We continue to obtain additional information on ways the supply chain was compromised, allowing it to be repaired, strengthened, and better positioned to serve the people of Zambia in the future.”

The U.S. Government provides HIV and malaria test kits, along with other health commodities, under the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the President’s Malaria Initiative, and through contributions to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.  The commodities, provided in Zambia and around the world, are intended to be distributed to beneficiaries without charge.

Last week’s arrests stem from a proactive initiative that OIG began in Lusaka in June 2017.  OIG visited pharmacies across the city to determine if U.S. Government-funded products were being sold for profit.  During these visits, OIG quickly identified individuals involved in the illegal sale of stolen HIV and malaria test kits, which were later confirmed to have been provided through U.S. Government and The Global Fund programs.  OIG shared evidence from its investigation with members of the ZNTF, triggering joint investigative efforts that led the ZNTF, assisted by OIG, to detain 13 individuals involved in illegally selling the test kits.

Following the arrests, six individuals are considered the main targets of the investigation and remain in jail.  Zambian authorities released an additional seven individuals after they secured bail on the condition that they return for further questioning.

OIG conducts independent investigations and audits to make U.S. foreign assistance programs more efficient, effective, and accountable.  Promoting integrity in the global health supply chain stands among OIG’s top investigative priorities and OIG operates worldwide to investigate complaints of fraud and misconduct in global health programs.  This work includes its “Make A Difference” (MAD) campaign and hotline to protect the integrity of antimalarial programs overseas.  The campaign operates in Malawi, Benin, and Nigeria and publicly calls for citizens to oppose theft and counterfeiting of antimalarial commodities and to recognize the dangers they present.

More information can be found on OIG’s web site, which also provides instructions for using the office’s hotlines to report fraud, waste, and abuse.

Six Arrested and Held in Zambia for Illicit Sale of HIV and Antimalarial Products

Investigation by USAID Inspector General Leads to Joint Law Enforcement Action   

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Last week, authorities in Zambia arrested and held six individuals, including two pharmacy owners, involved in the illicit sale of HIV and malaria test kits in Lusaka, the country’s capital. The arrests took place using evidence gathered during a 5 month-long investigation by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Inspector General (OIG).

In the weeks prior to the arrests, OIG carried out joint investigative work with the Zambia National Task Force (ZNTF).  The task force consists of the Zambia Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC), Zambia Medical Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA), Ministry of Health (MOH) and Zambia police.

“We coordinate closely with international partners to thwart the work of criminals who prey upon the U.S. Government-supported global health supply chain,” said Jonathan Schofield, OIG’s Special Agent in Charge overseeing global health investigations.  “Our recent work with partners in the U.S. Embassy in Zambia and ZNTF has stopped several offenders who exploited international aid for personal gain.  We continue to obtain additional information on ways the supply chain was compromised, allowing it to be repaired, strengthened, and better positioned to serve the people of Zambia in the future.”

The U.S. Government provides HIV and malaria test kits, along with other health commodities, under the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the President’s Malaria Initiative, and through contributions to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.  The commodities, provided in Zambia and around the world, are intended to be distributed to beneficiaries without charge.

Last week’s arrests stem from a proactive initiative that OIG began in Lusaka in June 2017.  OIG visited pharmacies across the city to determine if U.S. Government-funded products were being sold for profit.  During these visits, OIG quickly identified individuals involved in the illegal sale of stolen HIV and malaria test kits, which were later confirmed to have been provided through U.S. Government and The Global Fund programs.  OIG shared evidence from its investigation with members of the ZNTF, triggering joint investigative efforts that led the ZNTF, assisted by OIG, to detain 13 individuals involved in illegally selling the test kits.

Following the arrests, six individuals are considered the main targets of the investigation and remain in jail.  Zambian authorities released an additional seven individuals after they secured bail on the condition that they return for further questioning.

OIG conducts independent investigations and audits to make U.S. foreign assistance programs more efficient, effective, and accountable.  Promoting integrity in the global health supply chain stands among OIG’s top investigative priorities and OIG operates worldwide to investigate complaints of fraud and misconduct in global health programs.  This work includes its “Make A Difference” (MAD) campaign and hotline to protect the integrity of antimalarial programs overseas.  The campaign operates in Malawi, Benin, and Nigeria and publicly calls for citizens to oppose theft and counterfeiting of antimalarial commodities and to recognize the dangers they present.

More information can be found on OIG’s web site, which also provides instructions for using the office’s hotlines to report fraud, waste, and abuse.

First Tracker Designed for Bifacial Module & Certified by CPP, SkySmart Made its Debut in Global Market

SHANGHAI, Dec. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Due to its high energy yield advantage, bifacial modules are becoming widely accepted by the solar PV market. Responding to the trend, Arctech Solar recently launched its innovative SkySmart tracking system. SkySmart is the world’s first tracker that is specially designed for bifacial modules, and it is also certified by CPP.

SkySmart: Single Row, Double Performance

Compared to standard tracking systems, there are six significant advantages of SkySmart.

  • SkySmart owns the industrial record N-S slope 20%, equivalent to 11.3 degrees
  • The number of foundations have been reduced
  • SkySmart tracking system has a double pitch risk-free drive-through cleaning advantage
  • SkySmart is compatible with all commercially available PV modules
  • SkySmart is a self-powered system with Li-ion battery as a backup
  • SkySmart is the world’s first supplier to apply LoRa-wireless communication technology to trackers

Including technical indicators mentioned above, when compared with standard tracking systems, what is particularly worth mentioning here is that SkySmart can maximize the value of bifacial modules with Artech Solar’s patented 4 point/6 point bifacial module fast mounting fixing method. It is a key design that differentiates SkySmart from other manufacturers in the solar PV industry. The newly patented installation method will help clients effectively reduce the module backside shading, accelerates project installation and increases the energy yield.

To know more about SkySmart datasheet at: http://www.arctechsolar.com/index.php/product/downloadcenter

About Arctech Solar

Arctech Solar is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and solution providers of solar tracking and racking systems. Through 8 years of development, Arctech Solar has set up manufacturing bases in Kunshan and Changzhou in China and has also set up subsidiaries and service centers in many regional markets such as America, Japan, India and Europe other than China. As of January 2017, Arctech Solar has cumulatively installed 10GW and completed almost 600 projects in more than 10 countries. With a production capacity of 6GW and 3GW in fixed mounting structure and tracker fields respectively (a total annual capacity of 9GW), Arctech Solar has grown into a reliable partner in the Global PV Tracking and Racking market.

Press Contact:
Sabrina Lyu
+86-150-0085-3002
sabrina.lu@arctechsolar.com

Photo: http://mma.prnewswire.com/media/615497/SkySmart.jpg

Dormaa Central initiates efforts to woo investors to develop the poultry industry

Dormaa-Ahenkro (B/A), The Dormaa Central Municipal Assembly is making efforts to woo foreign investors to the Municipality for the development of the poultry industry.

That would be done through aggressive marketing of the poultry products in the Municipality to the outside world to attract investors.

Mr Iddrissa Ouattara, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), said this on Friday during a durbar of the 33rd National Farmers’ Day at Dormaa-Ahenkro in the Brong-Ahafo Region.

He said with the capacity of producing one-third of the nation’s poultry stock, there is the urgent need for government to continue to focus its attention on the speedy development of the industry in the area.

Mr Ouattara said the Ghana Poultry Project at Dormaa-Ahenkro, started in the era of former President John Agyekum Kufuor, is providing technical services to poultry farmers under a grant facility from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), but expressed concern that its laboratory was still uncompleted.

He appealed to government to prioritise the completion of that project to help ensure business growth in the area.

The MCE said the Municipal Assembly in collaboration with the Municipal Directorate of Agriculture has provided storage facilities for seedlings, embarked on educational campaigns, organised spraying gangs to control fall army worms invasion and established a technical committees for the local implementation of government’s Planting for Food and Jobs programme.

He said government is committed to increasing budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector as an effort to boost productivity as the sector provides employment for over 70 per cent of the population and contributes about 40 per cent to Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Mr Ouattara said government sees the agricultural sector as a conduit to addressing the unemployment challenges facing the country and noted that the sector remains under-exploited in spite of its huge economic potential.

The MCE appealed to stakeholders to work to ensure that agriculture transcends improving on farm productivity to addressing post harvest losses.

He enumerated various challenges such as poor marketing, lack of storage facilities, inadequate credit facilities, obsolete farm tools and bad road network as confronting the agricultural sector.

Mr Ouattara said as a measure to address short falls in the agriculture sector, next year government would employ over 2000 extension officers to offer advice to farmers and support them in modern farming techniques.

He urged farmers in the Municipality to form farmer-based organisations to have a stronger voice to influence policy to promote their interest.

Mr Abu Salifu, a 45-year old farmer from Kofiasua was adjudged the overall best Municipal farmer.

For his prize, Mr Salifu received a certificate, tricycle, a full piece wax print, four cutlasses, a knapsack sprayer, a radio set and four pairs of wellington boot.

Prizes were presented to other deserving farmers.

Source: Ghana News Agency

RIPS and EPA host Post-COP23 colloquium

Accra, A post-UN Conference of Parties (COP23) on Climate Change has been organised in Accra to sensitise key stakeholders on emerging issues from the Conference held in Bonn, Germany in November.

The event, also attended by policymakers and key public officials, was hosted by the Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS) and its Climate Change Resource Centre-Ghana (CCRC-GH) of the University of Ghana, in collaboration with the Climate Change Unit of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The post-COP23 event, which was supported by the Government of Canada, served as the first stocktaking colloquium on the multilateral Paris Agreement that demands countries to reduce their carbon emissions to below two degrees Celsius as well as adopt and implement nationally determined contributions that would help in mitigating and adapting to climate change impacts.

Dubbed: 2017 Post-COP23 Climate Change Stocktaking Colloquium, the event provided the platform to support Ghana’s implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement that critically addresses the Sustainable Development Goals.

Dr Delali Benjamin Dovie, the Convener of Post-COP23 event, said the colloquium was being organised against the background of a successful Climate Festival held on 24th October 2017, to prepare Ghana towards COP23 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The Conference of Parties is the next most significant UN global event after the UN General Assembly.

Dr Dovie said RIPS decided to institute the Post-COP Climate Stocktaking Colloquium as a high-level event that provided a timely platform to discuss issues of the Conference and to relay the information to society.

The University is here to provide the knowledge and the intellectual capacity to fill the gap, he said.

He said going forward in climate negotiation processes, there was the need to involve more scientists in the pre-COP activities here in Ghana, and elsewhere in Africa, so they could make the critical inputs into the policies and data that informed the tenets of global climate issues.

Ms Christine Asare, the Director of Strategic Environmental Assessment Unit of the EPA, who chaired the function, commended the RIPS for leading the process of engaging stakeholders to take stock of the Conference, which would go a long way to help provide the needed policy advice on mitigating climate change impact in the country.

She said the EPA, on its part, would continue to involve and work with the private sector and other key stakeholders in addressing the environmental issues, especially climate impacts, confronting Ghana.

Professor Samuel Nii Ardey Codjoe, the Director of RIPS, said the stock taking event was important as it would help fill the gaps and provide answers to emerging issues as a follow-up to the COP.

Mr Kyekyeku Yaw Oppong-Boadi, the National Focal Person on Climate Change in Ghana, said in all 70 Ghanaian delegates, led by Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation participated in the COP23.

He said the delegates were able to participate in many side-events and some bilateral engagements that would be followed up at the country-level to help Ghana accrue the benefits from such global negotiations.

Meanwhile, as part of the event, two panel discussions were held on the outcomes of the Conference with focus on Governance, Transparency, Loss and Damage and Response Measures.

Issues on Adaptation, Agriculture, and Climate Finance were also discussed while the Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Scientific Issues for Edmonton 2018, were also discussed by Ghanaian technocrats and scientists who formed parts of the African Group of Negotiators at the COP23.

COP23 was hosted by the Republic of Fiji as the Chair, and technically supported by the German Government.

It was opened on Monday, November 6, and closed on Friday, November 17, 2017.

Source: Ghana News Agency