Pajhwok News published a report on Monday alleging that 32 ventilators had been smuggled to Pakistan, and that employees of the Ministry of Public Health had been involved.
Both the Health Ministry and First Vice President Amrullah Saleh said that the claims were false, and that inventory numbers would be provided to prove it.
But the Health Ministry continues to issue contradictory reports on the number of these devices.
The Ministry of Public Health previously reported that 37 ventilators were given as aid to Afghanistan by China, Turkey, Iran and the World Health Organization. However, they now state that the number will increase to 57 as 17 more are coming in a second round of aid from China, Turkey, and Algharrafa Foundation, an organization from Qatar.
An increase of 17 from 37 would total 54, not 57, suggesting that some ventilators are not accounted for.
“Two shipments that were second-round aid from Turkey and the Algharrafa Foundation were not completed by customs until Tuesday, after which they were added to the stock list of the central inventory while four of the devices were sent directly to Herat province.” Stated Shafiqullah Shahim, deputy minister of finance and administration.
The lack of valid information and differing numbers from the Ministry of Public Health regarding the health equipment provided to the country by the international community, along with allegations of smuggling the ventilators to Pakistan, has raised concerns in the parliament about inefficient management and fraud.
“We ask them to answer--whether it is the Ministry, deputies or other institutions. Yet they have no information at all,” says Abdul Rauf Shpon, a member of parliament.
Responding to the Pajhwok News report, Amrullah Saleh, the country’s first vice president, announced that the devices are not missing.
“We should have a very clear method for managing how much aid is donated to Afghanistan and where it comes from,” said Mohibullah,a political analyst.
New health packages from Azerbaijan made up about 23 tons of medical equipment, which was handed over to the Afghan government on Thursday.
“The president has put together a committee to investigate the smuggling of ventilators, which was leaked to the media, and the results will be known soon.” said Mohammad Shaker Kargar, the president’s chief of staff.
The Ministry of Public Health has not yet commented on the overall number of health supplies coming into Afghanistan from other countries. Meanwhile, concerns about COVID-19 are increasing in the country. 360 new cases have been registered in the last 24 hours, making the total number 30,175.