Inspector General: More than 300 million Afghanis have been wasted on the Corona project

Report: Imran Khorasani and Mohammad Din Agharkhel

Corruption is a phenomenon that has taken root in President Ghani’s government. Although Mr. Ghani and his colleagues at the Presidential Palace have pledged to take conclusive action in the fight against corruption, many of the president’s aides are among those most involved in political corruption and have political support. In the most recent case, the Office of the Presidential Inspector General told media outlets in a news conference that more than 300 million Afghanis had been wasted on corona projects in the central and provincial level in provinces and that most local officials were involved in corruption. According to the presidential palace’s inspector general office, these people have been introduced to the judiciary system.

Findings of the Office of the Special Inspector General:

Today, Sunday, February 7, 2021, the Inspector’s Office’s officials attended the nationwide accountability program. The agency’s findings focused more on the multimillion-dollar corruption in the Corona budget. In the first wave of the Corona Virus pandemic, President Ghani’s government allocated large sums of money to the country’s capital and provinces to open local governments to fight against Corona. Ghazal Hares, the head of the inspector general’s office, said that there was a lot of corruption in the corona contracts and that most of the institutions were directly involved in the corruption made in the corona budget. According to Mrs. Hares: “The findings of the Inspector General in the Corona budget show that there has been much corruption in this project. The Inspectorate has been able to inspect 24 out of 34 provinces; in most cases, criminal cases have been referred to the Attorney General. All cases received by this Office have been thoroughly, transparently, and impartially reviewed. In some cases, the Inspector’s office has provided the local authorities’ necessary recommendations and orders. »

Million-dollar corruption in the corona budget and its unwillingness by local authorities:

According to Mrs. Ghazal Hares, the inspector general’s Office witnessed widespread corruption and fraud at the provincial level in the first wave of the Corona, mostly made public by the media and civil society organizations. Mrs. Hares says the agency’s overall findings in 24 provinces show that local authorities bought most of the items at high prices, often the original price. She added that although prices in the markets were not stable and the closure of borders had exacerbated the problems, the Inspector’s findings show that most of the medicines and materials needed to combat the Corona are priced at Long bought. According to Mrs. Hares: “From the total budget of Corona, the Inspector General’s Office inspected the amount of 907246068 Afghanis on a case-by-case basis, and in this money, about 330354912 Afghanis, in our view, are higher required materials were purchased in the markets. It is a pity in the provinces. Our findings show that in total, about 30 to 40 percent of all the required items were purchased at higher prices in the provinces. Instead of wasting money, local officials could use this amount, and it was good to them to use this money in a good manner and make optimal use of it in other areas.”

The head of the Inspectorate also said that unrelated items had been purchased in many provinces. Ghazal Hares added: “In all these unrelated cases, there is no approval from the monitoring committee, which was tasked with the anti-Corona bill; This is unacceptable consumption. A total of 47213,182 afghanis unrelated items were purchased in 24 provinces, which was again a massive waste of money by local authorities, and again these officials could have used this money optimally in other sectors. The price difference from one province to another is enormous. This means that if you look at some cases, such as protective coats in the provinces from 550 to 9000 Afghanis have been purchased, which shows the widespread pity and desire in the provinces; In the purchase of thermometers in the provinces, this tool has been purchased from 6,000 to 24,000 Afghanis, which is a sign of corruption. In the field of purchasing ventilators or artificial respiration devices, unfortunately, in the provinces, local authorities have purchased these devices from 831 thousand Afghanis to 3 million Afghanis, which indicates widespread corruption. Weaknesses in the corona contracts had also reached their peak. The negligence of local authorities has led to these anomalies, and in many cases, shows corruption and greed. Also, in most provinces, the media and civic institutions’ oversight role has been minimal, while the procedures stated that a committee set up to fight the Corona should include civil society activists and the media, but this has not been the case.”

It is also said that there are suspicious cases in the distribution of aid packages in the provinces. Ms. Hares says that local officials in three provinces have distributed about 7,000 aid packages, of which the Inspectorate has been able to sample 10 percent. Based on the findings of the Office of the Presidential Inspector: “The Office of the Presidential Inspector has been able to contact 700 of the 7,000 families who claim to have received assistance. Our findings show that out of 700 people, representing 10 percent of those assisted in the three provinces, at least 32 percent received aid, and 43 percent acknowledged that they had received aid. 23 percent of preliminary numbers were included in the lists, which meant exploitation, and in most provinces, more people imaginatively received the aid packages, but there were no individuals.”

The Office of the Presidential Inspector emphasizes that the Office has taken decisive steps in the fight against corruption and will work in collusion with other government departments to document such cases of corruption and deal with violators legally. Officials from the Presidential Palace Inspectorate emphasize that since May this year, the Office has thoroughly reviewed corruption cases in the Corona project, and now the team is working to investigate 10 more provinces. Also, complete it soon and share the details with the citizens of the country.