PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (defend.ht) - Nearly thirty school principals of public and private schools were arrested for fraud. While some are claiming political persecution, the arrests only add to the rampant corruption extending from the top to the bottom of Haiti's Universal and Compulsory Free Education Program.
29 arrests were made from principals in the West and Artibonite Departments, confirmed the Minister of Justice, Jean Renel Sanon.
This comes less than a month after 766 schools were found to be fictitious and as questions continue to be raised about the illegality of the National Fund for Education, an unconstitutional tax, not passed by Parliament, levied on international calls and money transfers.
Despite the rampant corruption, last week at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C., Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe told the audience 1.3 million students were enrolled in the free education program largely subsidized by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
The figure of 1.3 million is an increase of over 150,000 students, even after fictitious schools and rampant fraud was discovered.
Some of the recent arrests are being questioned as political and arbitrary. This is the case of one principal in the city of Gonaives.
One principal, who had just days prior announced his candidacy for Mayor of Gonaives was arrested for the alleged fraud but citizens have said that it is because the opposing candidate for mayor would be the brother of former Senator Youri Latortue, also advisor to President Michel Martelly.