Nangarhar Education Director denies corruption charges

Monitoring Desk

JALALABAD: The education department director of eastern Nangarhar province is accused of corruption in 11 different cases, but he rejects all allegations against him as a conspiracy, Pajhwok Afghan News has learnt reliably.

Education Director Haseeb Shinwari is accused of inking a majority of his department contracts with a particular company illegally to pave the way for corruption.

As a result of fraud in the documents, a development project worth almost 10 million afghanis was rejected and the amount sent back to the ministry.

Although the education head says all these allegations are a conspiracy against him, but the Education Department confirms a delegation has arrived in Jalalabad for investigation.

Shinwari faces charges of alleged corruption worth 20.3 million afghanis

A delegation from the Ministry of Education (MoE) has investigated alleged financial and administrative corruption against Shinwari and shared it report with the ministry.

The documents, a copy of which is received by Pajhwok Afghan News, show that an uplift project has been divided into multiple projects worth less than 500,000 afghanis by using the legal powers of the head of the department.

The project should have been executed with approval from the Procurement Commission and an open bidding, which did not happen.

Among these projects, one is about the rehabilitation of the Education Department head’s home provided by the government.

The rehabilitation work for which 99,515 afs were required had been altered because there was need for a signature of the head of the department to debit the money from the bank.

This project was converted into two projects and money withdrawn from the bank on one official letter and two different cheques and the contract was awarded to a construction company Khawaja Elyas.

In addition, another mega project worth over four million afghanis has been disintegrated into 13 small projects in order to prevent it from going into open bidding process.

The documents also reveal the Education Department’s contracts for armored gate and hall construction worth over four million afghanis was inked with the Khawaja Elyas’s construction company, in which it was stated that if the work exceeds the given time, the company would be penalised 00.05 afghani percent per day but the work could not be completed in the stipulated time and the company was not also fined for the delay.

The Education Department head drew amount 92,750 afghanis for travel and rent expenses of the ministry’s delegation.

Shinwari also withdrew 89,550 afghanis for the introduction event, while according to the law there was no allocation of funds for such events.

A contract worth over nine million afghanis had been rejected by the ministry and the allocated money returned back to the ministry due to fraud and changes in the content of the contract which was awarded to the Mohammad Elyas Logistics company for purchasing tents for the Education Department of Nangarhar.

Shinwari is accused of misusing the government vehicle allotted to him by the ministry. He attached the government vehicle registration number to his personal vehicle.

Fraud in educational documents:

Pajhwok Afghan News has received documents regarding the educational career of the Nangarhar education department head.

During an interview, Shinwari introduced himself as a master’s degree holder while he is graduated from the Kabul Education University.

According to the Education Department letter no. 2059 issued in March 2018, two persons Ahmad Tamim Azizi and Sulaiman Salehi had been ordered to investigate the educational documents of the Nangarhar Education Department head.

The documents show Shinwari was introduced as master’s degree holder to the president by then Education Minister Ibrahim Shinwari and he also introduced himself as having a master’s degree during the interview.

But Shinwari said corruption allegations against him were a plot against him. He said the contract for the director’s house was divided into two parts as the house initially needed minor repairs but it later required further reconstructions in some other parts.

About multiple contracts with one company, he said: “We award contracts based on open competition, we sign contracts with companies that provide economic services, probably more contracts with this company mean that it provides inexpensive services.”

Shinwari said the plan for money was prepared jointly by then acting education director and a delegation from the Ministry of Education before he took charge and he only signed the plan.

The contract for purchasing tents worth nearly 10 million afghanis was not embezzled but the contract was rejected because it was not announced on time, he said.

The contracts for repairing 13 schools were individualized because their locations were different and a plan was developed to repair all schools in one district under a single contract in future, he added.

About his education, Shinwari said: “I have a bachelor degree and I receive my privileges of a bachelor graduate, it is not my mistake when the ministry introduced me as a master’s degree holder.”

Nangarhar provincial council wants the case investigated

Nangarhar provincial council members say the government should once again investigate about corruption allegations against the education department.

Humira Rafi, secretary of the provincial council, asked the government, particularly the Ministry of Education, to appoint a special delegation for accurately investigating the case. She said when the education director was accused of corruption, it would definitely affect the education process.

Israrullah Murad, a provincial council member, said they had also obtained similar documents that showed the education director was involved in embezzlement in some projects.

He said they were reviewing the documents to find out how much were they accurate. He said the corruption of even one afghani should be investigated and corrupt figures taken to justice.

Civil society says corruption is a threat to education

Abdul Latif Wahidi, head of Civil Society Coordination Center in Nangarhar, expressed concern and said they had several times shared documents about corruption in the education department to the governor’s house but no action was taken on the issue.

“It is a great threat to the education process when head of the office is accused of corruption, such individuals could not stop his subordinates from indulging in corruption”, he said.

Hilai Assad, a civil society activist, said the education department should be cleared of all types of corruption and the government should closely watch it for preventing illegal practices there.

She had no information about corruption documents against the education director, but said the government should appoint a team for investigation.

MoE confirms corruption allegations against Nangarhar director

The Ministry of Education confirmed sending a delegation to Nangarhar for investigation into corruption allegations against the province education director.

Noria Nazhat, Education Ministry spokeswoman, told Pajhwok that the ministry had sent a delegation to the province to investigate the corruption claims, but the team was yet to share its information with the ministry.

She said the issue was under review at the ministry and further information about it would be published later.

The Nangarhar governor’s house did not provide more explanation about the issue but said they would take legal action against corrupt figures if received accurate evidence.

Attaullah Khogyani, the governor’s spokesman, speaking to Pajhwok refused to provide further information about the issue.

Pajhwok also tried to contact the MoE delegation about the case, but the team did not comment as it was not authorized to talk to media.

Courtesy: (Pajhwok)