The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are suing a company for allegedly misusing the money they were gifted to develop a pneumonia vaccine for children.
PnuVax Inc. was granted ‘up to $29,423,549’ in 2017 to give vaccines to children in developing countries at a low cost.
The money was strictly given to pay for the creation of these vaccines rather than anything else, according to reports.
The foundation has terminated PnuVax’s grant and are demanding they pay back the remaining funds.
According to the Daily Mail, PnuVax allegedly used the money to pay off back rent owed to its landlord, as well as paying off other debts it racked up before receiving the grant.
The lawsuit obtained by the paper states:
Almost immediately after entering into the grant agreement and receiving $3milllion in grant funds, PnuVax Inc. diverted these funds to a trust account maintained by its attorney and used the funds to pay significant amounts of back rent owed to its landlord.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation first invested into the company in 2014 when they awarded them ‘$6million’. A year later the company was awarded ‘another $3million’.
In 2017, a ‘further $3million’ was added to the total – with the Foundation suspecting funds were being mismanaged at the end of that year.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, owned by Microsoft co-founder and his wife, is now suing for damages and demanding PnuVax pay back all the funds that were not used on the vaccine.
The foundation was founded in 2000 and is the largest private foundation in the world. Its purpose is to tackle some of the biggest cases of health risks and poverty in the world.
Previous projects include funding research into the eradication of malaria and polio, controlling the spread of HIV, and funding vaccine development and deployment.
According to The Guardian, the foundation’s trust endowment stands at $43.5bn (£29.5bn) and makes grant payments in excess of $3bn every year.
While the Gates family are happy to invest their wealth into charitable causes, it’s clear the company will not accept their money being used inappropriately. There was an agreement in place for the foundation to continue paying PnuVax until the end of 2019.
Bill and Melinda Gates are now seeking a declaration it has no obligation to continue paying the company.
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Matt Weston is a lover of electric cars, artificial intelligence and space. From Cornwall, he’s a UCLan graduate that still dreams of being a Formula One driver in the very near future. Previously work includes reporting for regional newspapers and freelance video for the International Business Times.