Suspicion of misuse of funds in cooperation program to which Finland contributed 10 million
The World Bank has carried out an in-depth review of the operation and finances of the Education Quality Improvement Program II (EQUIP II), a project of the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), carried out in 2008–2017.
Finland supported this project, administered by the World Bank, by approximately 10 million euros in four years, this is 2.5 million euros a year in the period 2014-2017.
Based on preliminary results, the review carried out by the World Bank detected defects in documentation and possible mismanagement of procurement in the project, informed today the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in a press release.
Supported by several donors, the project’s total financial value was USD 418 million in 2008–2017. The project aimed to improve the quality of educational inputs and processes in Afghanistan.
Documentation requested from Afghan Government
The Afghan authorities have been requested to provide supplementary documentation. Regarding mismanagement of procurement, the matter has been submitted to the World Bank’s Integrity Vice Presidency (INT) for investigation.
If it is determined that funds have been misused, the World Bank will initiate recovery of the funds in accordance with its standard procedure. The procurement do not include funding channeled to the project from Finland, assured the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
Investigation followed closely
The World Bank and the Government of Afghanistan take the preliminary results of the review with due seriousness, and the Government of Afghanistan has initiated corrective measures. Finland's Embassy in Kabul and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Helsinki will follow the progress in the investigation closely, together with the other donors.
The education programme's main aim was to increase a balanced access to quality education especially for girls. During the project cycle, girls’ enrollment to basic education rose from 1.9 million to 3.4 million, while the corresponding figures for boys were 2.1 million and 5.5 million. In addition, more than 8,000 new classrooms were built in the project.