MPs want DCI to probe schools’ cash

Friday, May 20th, 2022 05:30 | By
Parliament’s PAC chair Opiyo Wandayi. PHOTO/kenna claude
Parliament’s PAC chair Opiyo Wandayi. PHOTO/kenna claude

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti was yesterday directed by MPs to probe irregular use of Sh1.6 billion meant for various programmes in the Ministry of Education.

The lawmakers also want a forensic audit carried out to unravel suspected malpractices in the use of the funds.

On Tuesday, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) tabled a report in the National Assembly on the funds.

Misappropriated funds

The PAC, chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, said money for capitation, subsidies and grants to various public schools was misappropriated in the State Department for Early Learning and Basic Education.

 Of the Sh1.6 billion that the MPs want Kinoti to initiate investigations into, Sh919.2 million was disbursed to various primary schools that had identical registration numbers, some of which could not be traced in the National Education Management Information System (Nemis).

They also were not on the list of TSC-registered schools, which goes against ministerial guidelines on funds disbursements.

The committee said there were anomalies that occasioned the loss of public funds and that no recoveries from the duplicated primary schools have been made.

“Within three months of tabling and adoption of this report, the DCI initiates an investigation into the primary schools grant programme with a view to unravel any malpractices,” adds the report.

With regard to subsidies amounting to Sh105.9 million being overpayment to 331 public secondary schools arising from inflated enrolment data, the committee told the DCI to probe the subsidy programme.

The committee observes that although the process of making recoveries from the sampled schools was halted due to Covid-19, the Accounting Officer in the department failed to prepare and keep proper accounting records.

This is in contravention of Section 68 (2) (b) of the Public Finance Management (PFM) Act, 2012.

“Within three months of tabling and adoption of this report, the Accounting Officer should fully recover the outstanding amounts overpaid and submit evidence of recovery to the Auditor-General for review. Also, the DCI should initiate an investigation into the secondary schools subsidy programme,” reads the report.

Suspected officers

The move by the committee came even as it asked the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to, within three months, conclude investigations on Joshua Ocharo Momanyi and other officers in the department.

Ocharo is a clerical officer at the Directorate of Education in Kakamega county. He is said to have swindled Sh11 million after creating a fake public school called Mundeku Secondary in the county.

He reportedly opened a bank account where he listed himself as a signatory, and through which the funds were directed.

On grants amounting to Sh369.9 million, the committee has asked the DCI to investigate the school's grant programme.

The Auditor-General, Nancy Gathungu, in her report for the 2018/19 financial year, states that out of Sh8 million irregularly paid to low-cost boarding schools, Sh6.6 million was in excess following inflated enrolment figures.

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