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Ventilators not smuggled, AOO claims

By: The Kabul Times

KABUL: Afghanistan Ombudsperson Office (AOO) has found that the ventilators donated by the international organizations were not smuggled, an official said yesterday.

Ghezal Haris, head of the Afghanistan Ombudsperson Office in a briefing to the media at Government Media and Information Center on Wednesday, rejected the Pajhwok News Agency report over the possible selling and smuggling of 32 ventilator devices to Pakistan and that of 8am daily newspaper report on the embezzlement of the money, Afghanistan received to fight the pandemic

Haris said though the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has reported the total number of ventilators 335 devices across the country, but her administration identified and confirmed the existence of 372 devices during its investigation.

The AOO also called low capacity of the health personnel in using the ventilator devices, nonoperational of some of the devices and lack of biomedical engineers to repair the non-working devices, from the main problems in this field.

She also said delay in sharing needed documents and information, defection in documents and figures and weak cooperation from the contract-side private companies, prolonged the inspection process.

Meanwhile, Haris shared information about considerable difference between purchasing the health equipment for fighting COVID-19 and that of ordinary market prices, saying in some provinces, including Herat, Maidan Wardak, Nuristan and Badakhshan a C.T. Scan device has been purchased in 30 million and 80,000 afs, while its market price was 11.5 million afs.

“The differences indicate up to 19 million Afs comparing the real and market prices,” she added; however, she said some officials introduced to AGO for further inquiries over embezzlement in aid for fighting the virus pandemic.

She also assured that the process of inspecting would go ahead fairly, precisely and transparently.

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