Head teachers pilfering free education funds

May 25, 2016 1:59 pm
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According to the probe, much of the monies allocated are being lost due to the procurement procedures not being followed and theft by head teachers who give themselves personal loans and sell textbooks to schools/FILE
According to the probe, much of the monies allocated are being lost due to the procurement procedures not being followed and theft by head teachers who give themselves personal loans and sell textbooks to schools/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25 – An investigation by the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) has revealed glaring irregularities in the management and use of Free Primary Education funds and the purchase of textbooks by head teachers in schools.

According to the probe, much of the monies allocated are being lost due to the procurement procedures not being followed and theft by head teachers who give themselves personal loans and sell textbooks to schools.

Overview
  • The report recommended that the Education Ministry should prepare a comprehensive implementation plan incorporating all the issues raised to seal the loopholes
  • Other forms of fraud ranges from forged signatures, delivery of phantom books, overpricing and single-sourcing of suppliers by instructional materials selection committees at the school level were also unearthed
  • The report blamed the roles played by heads, school management committees and suppliers for the failure to achieve the 1:1 book-to-pupil ratio

Speaking during the release of the report, EACC Director of Preventive Services Vincent Okong’o stated that there needs to be proper supervision by the Ministry of Education and proper paperwork in the procurement of books.

“Disbursement non-corresponding account was another area of concern. Funds meant for one school are disbursed into bank accounts of a different school,” he explained.

“For example in one primary school in Kilifi, money was being disbursed to another school’s account and despite many attempts to contact the ministry, no response on the issue was forthcoming.”

His sentiments were echoed by EACC Chief Executive Officer Halakhe Waqo who recommended that tough measures should be introduced to ensure head teachers who misuse allocated funds are held accountable.

“The penalties meted on teachers found to have misappropriated funds or even stolen books only leads to impunity. In one school in Nyeri for example, the team came upon statements written by students who caught a head teacher stealing books from the deputy head teacher’s office,” he said.

“The books were not recovered but the head teacher was demoted and transferred to a different school. This was replicated in many other cases,” he added.

While stating that the recommendations in the report will be followed, Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i stated that the audit department has been restructured and training on accounting procedures will be carried out for all head teachers to help in managing the funds.

“It is clear for everyone to see that in the education sector in our country, we do not have a challenge in resources to spend in the education sector. We are the seventh highest funder of education in the world,” he said. “We fund education more that any country in Sub-Saharan Africa which means we have the resources. The challenge is how we manage these resources.”

The report recommended that the Education Ministry should prepare a comprehensive implementation plan incorporating all the issues raised to seal the loopholes.

Other forms of fraud ranges from forged signatures, delivery of phantom books, overpricing and single-sourcing of suppliers by instructional materials selection committees at the school level were also unearthed.

The report blamed the roles played by heads, school management committees and suppliers for the failure to achieve the 1:1 book-to-pupil ratio.

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