KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): The Education Department of southern Kandahar province has not paid the rent of 59 buildings used for schools and seminaries, Pajhwok Afghan News has reliably learned.
These buildings are rented by the Education Department in parts of Kandahar City and in some districts where schools and seminaries were without buildings.
According to statistics, total 59 private properties were rented. The rent of these facilities could not be paid from two to five years and that account to 24 million afs.
Sources said the provincial Education Department provided millions of afghanis every year from 2222 code, from which it could easily pay the rent of these buildings, but the amount was withdrawn and embezzled.
Building owners demand rent amount
Habibullah, a resident of Kandahar City 7th Police District, is one of those individuals who have rented out his house to the education department for a school against monthly 9,000 afs.
He said the Education Department had not paid his two years rent accounting to 204,000 afs.
He showed his contract paper to Pajhwok reporter and said he referred to the Education Department for payment of the rent but officials told him that funds were not available.
He said the school had been shifted from his house to another location but still the rent the Education Department owed to him remained unpaid.
Mawlavi Abdul Hadi, a resident of Kandahar City’s 8th Police District, said he rented out his two houses to the Education Department for Saberia Seminary from the past five years but he did not receive his rent.
He said in the first four years the rent was 15,000 afs and lately it was reduced to 14,000 afs and the total rent payable by the Education Department was 888,000 afs.
He added in the past he frequently referred to the Education Department for the payment of his rent amount but they only paid the rent to powerful individual or those who had reference.
“The Education Department received millions of afghanis and that amount was embezzled in one way or another and landed in private pockets, denying public legitimate rights,” he said.
He said he still has contract with the Education Department, adding that recently he asked new officials for the payment of their dues who also declined to meet their request due to the lack of fund.
Due to fund shortage rent not paid
Education Department acknowledged that from 2018 the rent amount of some buildings could not be paid and that government defaulted on 24 million afs to the owners of these buildings.
Education Department Spokesperson Nazar Mohammad Samimi told Pajhwok Afghan News that few years back some buildings in Kandahar City and some districts were rented for schools and seminaries.
A total 59 buildings — 27 for schools and 32 for seminaries — were obtained on rent in Kandahar City and districts in the past six years, he said.
Samimi said the Education Ministry provides them some fund from 22 Code which they spent on purchasing some materials and paid rent for those buildings.
He did not reveal the amount given to them from Code 22 but added it was not a huge amount to pay rented building fare therefor it remained unpaid.
He rejected if the fund was embezzled, saying it was a small amount and they were unable to pay the rent from code 22.
Pajhwok tried to get relevant documents which could show what amount was provided from the centre to the Education Department or any other document to show how much fund was provided for the payment of rent.
Amount for rent payment went to private pockets
A high ranking Education Department official on the condition of anonymity said the Education Department annually received millions of afghanis for the purchase of equipment and payment of rent but due to massive corruption the amount went to private pockets.
“Seven to eight million afghanis were provided to the Education Department for equipment purchase and payment of rent but the amount was embezzled and landed at private pockets,” the sources said.
Samimi, however, rejected corruption allegations and said rents were not paid due to lack of funds.
It is worth mentioning that in the past, the Kandahar Education Department was accused of running ghost schools, imaginary teachers and several other corrupt practices but no effective steps could be taken to investigate these corruption related allegations.