Inspection at Education & Science Ministry reveals grand larcenies

Inspection at Education & Science Ministry reveals grand larcenies
Sergey Salikhov, ex-head of Education & Science Ministry’s Dept of Science and Technology

According to the auditors, the budget lost 127 million rubles ($2,16m).

The Prosecutor General's Office carried out an inspection at the Ministry of Education and Science and exposed grand larcenies from the budget funds, wrote RBC. The inspection showed 127 million rubles ($2,16m) were missing, deputy prosecutor Aleksandr Buksman wrote in a letter to Minister of Education and Science Olga Vasilieva. Earlier, she had asked to check whether the ministry was fulfilling the federal targeted programs (FTP).

The auditors revealed violations related to two of the FTPs: "2014-2020 research and development in the priority areas of Russian scientific and technological complex" ("Research and Development") and "Development of pharmaceutical and medical industry of the Russian Federation up until 2020 and directions for further research"("Pharma-2020"). Buksman pinned the blame for the unreasonable waste on Sergey Salikhov, the ex-head of Education & Science Ministry’s Dept of Science and Technology and his deputy Aleksey Antropov. As follows from the letter, their actions led to a 53-million-ruble larceny from the budget funds aimed at creating a device for remote diagnosis of the human body that the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) was developing.

According to the prosecutor's office, Antropov received the work from the Institute, and then Salikhov terminated the contract with MIPT, rationalizing it by the fact that the work had been done ahead of schedule. In fact, the project was never implemented, and its researcher said that he had never been present while the work was carried out, neither did he sign the documents that feature his signature. In addition, Salikhov paid several contracts worth $1,26m before terminating them. The contract money was never returned.

Other violations were seen in "Research and Development" program. Employees of other departments were included in the coordinating council of the program, although its objectives prohibited that.

This is a partial list of the violations the prosecutors found. A number of contracts need to be terminated, as their conditions were not fulfilled. The department demanded that the Ministry of Education and Science take measures to recover the lost funds. The ministry promised to provide all possible assistance to the law enforcement agencies.

A source in the prosecutor's office informed that a number of criminal cases could be initiated upon the investigation’s findings.

Salikhov and three of his deputies resigned in December 2016. One of the possible reasons for the resignations may be a disagreement he had with new Education Minister O. Vasilyeva.

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