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Ex-edu minister rejects SIGAR report on ‘ghost schools’

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: Former Minister of Education, Farooq Wardak, on Saturday rejected report of Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) about misuse of US aid in the Ministry of Education (MoE).

Recently, the incumbent Education Minister, Asadullah Balkhi, told Wolesi Jirga that the former administration dispatched salaries and resources to a number of schools that were not existed.

SIGAR recently asked the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to submit report regarding its volume of assistance to the MoE.

The SIGAR 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,” he said.

However, Farooq Wardak rejected the allegations leveled against the ministry and termed the statement of current Education Minister as unfounded and unreal.

He said the allegations are politically motivated and had nothing to be proved.

The former Education Minister said majority of the donors in Tokyo, Chicago, London and Washington conferences did not materialize their pledges.

“The nation and government are fully aware of assistance and its expenditures,” he said. “The ministry has taken action against faked schools back in 2008 and there is no case of graft in its financial matters,” added Wardak.

He went on to say that the MoE was not involved in direct and indirect spending of aid; the USAID has provided assistance to education sector in Afghanistan through its different contractors. Therefore, Wardak said, SIGAR should investigate each and every contract and employees of USAID who have been provided the contracts.

As per SIGAR information, as of March 31, 2015, the USAID has spent Afs769 million to support education sector in the country.

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