‘Ghost’ children in Colombian education system

A Colombian government audit revealed heavy corruption in the education system, with thousands of children “invented” in order to secure funds from the national treasury, reported local media.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said that almost 100,000 children enrolled in the education system did not exist.

The president estimated that this could have cost the government up to $75 million, diverting resources from other important areas. Education Minister Maria Fernanda Campo said such corruption had “very serious side effects for the distribution of public resources.”

Campo specified that the worst example of such corruption was in the city of Buenaventura, the largest port on Colombia’s Pacific coast, in the department of Valle del Cauca. In that city alone, 36% of enrolled school children were believed to not exist.

The Attorney General was informed of the discrepancies and has begun a criminal investigation.

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