Kenyan PS defiant over missing school cash

December 21, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 21 – Education Permanent Secretary Karega Mutahi on Monday said he will not resign over the alleged misappropriation of Sh9 billion meant for the Free Primary Education by some ministry staff.

Addressing a news conference in his office, Prof Mutahi claimed the alleged scandal was a fabrication of the media saying he had written to Ministry of Finance requesting a Fiduciary Risk Audit on May 15.

He wondered why the same audit has generated the recent negative publicity which he says was as a result of suspension of officers.

He said he was being targeted for trying to break the corruption networks in the ministry.

“I am resigning the day when someone says this man stole a cent or when I realise that I can’t deliver to the learning of the children; if I resign because someone says I resign, then what you are saying is that stop fighting corruption, get out and let our own continue eating,”

“I’m I resigning because I touched a sacred cow or because I am a participant?” I can assure you I have never stolen from anyone – even a cent from the street.”

He explained that the alleged funds had not been lost and said the matter was a mix up in funds allocated into accounts of separate sub sector.

The PS also absolved Education Minister Sam Ongeri of blame in the saga saying he doesn’t approve any ministry level expenditure and should not be held responsible.

Prof Mutahi however insisted that 15 out of the 26 officers suspended over the saga will have to account for some of the imprests they failed to account for.

“The truth of the matter is that there is no money lost it is simply that in the accounting report two lots of money were put under two accounts. The auditors said you can’t do this because the Sh9 billion belongs to school operation and the Sh10 billion belong to learning and teaching materials. So please separate them.  There is no confusion this is an accounting error,” he said.

He said as trustees it’s the duty of his ministry to ensure that the money allocated to education programme is properly used.

“Don’t make it look like the ministry is full of people who want to steal from children,” he added.

He said the government and development partners are in talks towards designing of the 2nd phase of the Kenya Education Sector Support Programme (KESSP) for 2010-2015 saying some of the critical considerations have been to address weakness experienced in the first phase.

“Some of the key concerns are how to reach the hard to reach children, how to deal with the growing numbers of secondary graduates who need to transit to tertiary level issues of education particularly at the school level; monitoring and evaluation.”


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