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Afghanistan

Former Education Minister Denies ‘SIGAR Report on Ghost Schools’

Former education minister Farooq Wardak strongly refuted on Friday a report by a U.S. watchdog tha

Former education minister Farooq Wardak strongly refuted on Friday a report by a U.S. watchdog that accused Afghan officials at the Ministry of Education (MoE) of embezzling millions of dollars by providing fake school statistics to the donors.

The U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) exposed in its recent report that Afghan MoE officials had repeatedly been profiting off of aids for the schools that actually didn't exist in the country.

The report stated that the donors had been provided with fraudulent data and statistics of schools.

"Ministers have reported that no schools are open in the insecure parts of Afghanistan, but former officials have forged the numbers and have embezzled the money," SIGAR head John Sopko said on Thursday. "These claims show that the United States might have paid aid money for schools that did not exist."

However, former president Hamid Karzai's cabinet member, Farooq Wardak, told TOLOnews that he was ready to give accounts for each school and teacher in the country.

Wardak mentioned that all the U.S. assistances to Afghanistan's education had been done by the American officials, not the Afghan ministry.

"What we had in our statistics, today again we say they are hundred percent the same," Wardak said, noting that the current mechanism for collecting data was also the same during his term in office.

"I challenge the current [education] minister, SIGAR, Americans and the international community to find a teacher that a salary had been transferred under his name but he had not actually received the money or the money had gone to the pocket of former ministers," Wardak said.

However, the analysts emphasize investigation of the case.

"The legal and judicial institutions should be immediately instructed to investigate into such big cases," Hamayoun suggested who was a former member of Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC).

The current Minister of Education Asadullah Haneef Bakhi had also discussed the "ghost schools" and fraudulent statistics in the past. According to Balkhi, such corruption had made it difficult for his ministry to approach donors for legitimate needs.

"In some of the insecure areas, there are no schools, but the benefits, opportunities, money for infrastructure, money for teachers and so on have taken place," Minister Bakhi told TOLOnews on Thursday.

According to SIGAR, as of March 31, 2015, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) had spent 769 million USD to support education in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan

Former Education Minister Denies ‘SIGAR Report on Ghost Schools’

Former education minister Farooq Wardak strongly refuted on Friday a report by a U.S. watchdog tha

Thumbnail

Former education minister Farooq Wardak strongly refuted on Friday a report by a U.S. watchdog that accused Afghan officials at the Ministry of Education (MoE) of embezzling millions of dollars by providing fake school statistics to the donors.

The U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) exposed in its recent report that Afghan MoE officials had repeatedly been profiting off of aids for the schools that actually didn't exist in the country.

The report stated that the donors had been provided with fraudulent data and statistics of schools.

"Ministers have reported that no schools are open in the insecure parts of Afghanistan, but former officials have forged the numbers and have embezzled the money," SIGAR head John Sopko said on Thursday. "These claims show that the United States might have paid aid money for schools that did not exist."

However, former president Hamid Karzai's cabinet member, Farooq Wardak, told TOLOnews that he was ready to give accounts for each school and teacher in the country.

Wardak mentioned that all the U.S. assistances to Afghanistan's education had been done by the American officials, not the Afghan ministry.

"What we had in our statistics, today again we say they are hundred percent the same," Wardak said, noting that the current mechanism for collecting data was also the same during his term in office.

"I challenge the current [education] minister, SIGAR, Americans and the international community to find a teacher that a salary had been transferred under his name but he had not actually received the money or the money had gone to the pocket of former ministers," Wardak said.

However, the analysts emphasize investigation of the case.

"The legal and judicial institutions should be immediately instructed to investigate into such big cases," Hamayoun suggested who was a former member of Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC).

The current Minister of Education Asadullah Haneef Bakhi had also discussed the "ghost schools" and fraudulent statistics in the past. According to Balkhi, such corruption had made it difficult for his ministry to approach donors for legitimate needs.

"In some of the insecure areas, there are no schools, but the benefits, opportunities, money for infrastructure, money for teachers and so on have taken place," Minister Bakhi told TOLOnews on Thursday.

According to SIGAR, as of March 31, 2015, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) had spent 769 million USD to support education in Afghanistan.

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