USAID Inspector General Investigating Subject’s Role in Fraud Scheme
Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced the arrest this week of Dr. Eugene Sickle, a South African citizen, for money laundering. OIG Special Agents apprehended Dr. Sickle in Washington, D.C. for offenses committed in relation to USAID-supported HIV/AIDS programs in South Africa.
Dr. Sickle, who had served as Deputy Executive Director for the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute (WRHI) program, resigned from his position last year following the discovery of his potential involvement in the submission of fraudulent documents to WRHI by a third party. USAID staff reported Dr. Sickle’s resignation and evidence of questionable costs charged to USAID awards to the USAID OIG. OIG opened an investigation, which remains ongoing.
“I commend the work of our Special Agents in making today’s arrest and thank our federal law enforcement partners for their assistance and support,” said Ann Calvaresi Barr, USAID Inspector General. “Any fraud in U.S. foreign assistance programs is unacceptable, but fraud in global health programs is all the more troubling. Programs to help prevent and treat HIV/AIDS offer critical support to people around the world and OIG will continue to aggressively protect their integrity.”
In 2012, USAID awarded WRHI three cooperative agreements worth nearly $77 million to help strengthen treatment programs for HIV/AIDS patients and support the South African Government to develop, implement, and evaluate plans to treat at-risk populations.
USAID OIG is conducting the investigation and effected this week’s arrest in concert with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. OIG conducts independent oversight of U.S. foreign assistance programs that fall under USAID, as well as the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the U.S. African Development Foundation, the Inter-American Foundation, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. As part of its mandate, OIG investigates allegations of fraud, waste, and abuse and operates a complaint hotline.
Anyone with information about violations of law, rules, or regulations or mismanagement of agency programs or funds is urged to contact OIG.