FACT CHECK: Did The Madagascan President Say The WHO Offered Him A $20 Million Bribe?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Reporter

A viral Instagram post claims Madagascan President Andry Rajoelina said the World Health Organization (WHO) offered him a $20 million bribe to poison an alleged COVID-19 cure.

Verdict: False

There is no record of Rajoelina making such an allegation. A spokesperson for the Madagascan president has refuted the claim.

Fact Check:

The Instagram post features a photo of Rajoelina holding a Covid Organics bottle above text that reads, “WHO Offered $20M Bribe To Poison COVID-19 Cure, Madagascar President Alleges.” The post credits the Tanzania Perspective newspaper.

Rajoelina launched in April an herbal drink, Covid Organics, that he has claimed can prevent and cure COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. In response to the drink’s launch, the WHO told BBC News in a statement that it does not recommend “self-medication with any medicines … as a prevention or cure for COVID-19.”

Several African news websites, including The Zambian Observer, Elombah News and KanyiDaily.com, wrote about the alleged bribe, citing a May 14 print article from the Tanzania Perspective. Fahari Yetu, a Tanzania newspaper, claimed the Madagascan president made the allegation during a recent interview with the French media outlet France 24.

Rajoelina did have an interview with France 24 earlier in May. The Daily Caller News Foundation reviewed the entirety of the roughly 17-minute exclusive interview, which was translated into English and posted on France 24’s official YouTube Channel, and found no mention of a bribe.

BBC News, which wrote about the interview, did not mention the Madagascan president saying the WHO had offered him a bribe in its reporting. (RELATED: Viral Post Claims Madagascar Found A ‘Coronavirus Medicine’ That Can ‘Wipe Out The Virus’ In 6 Days)

The DCNF found no record of Rajoelina saying the WHO attempted to bribe him to poison Covid Organics elsewhere. Lova Ranoramoro, director of the presidential office, told AFP Fact Check, “The Madagascan presidency absolutely denies all these allegations.”

The Tanzania Perspective has previously published inaccurate claims, according to Africa Check and AFP Fact Check.

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Reporter
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