, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 21- Transparency International Kenya (TI-Kenya) has released a report on a study of the country’s education sector indicating widespread mismanagement of finances.
TI-Kenya Executive Director Job Ogonda said on Thursday that mismanagement of resources at the education ministry directly affected the tax payer as only five percent of funding in the sector was from donors while the remaining 95 percent was from citizens’ tax.
Speaking during the launch of the report, Mr Ogonda said that the incessant theft of money from the ministry would impair the country’s development.
“Transparency International wants to emphasise that accountability begins at the top. We can’t allow systems that allow for such malpractice to go on and for so long at the detriment of development in this country. The consequences are just too enormous. The bulk of these resources belongs to you as a Kenyan tax payer,” he said.
He added that the non accountability of leaders’ decisions and activities had also fueled corruption at the ministry further blaming the office of the President, Prime Minister and the Cabinet for the lack of transparency at the education ministry.
“The inability of citizens and committees to hold all those systems accountable is to blame. You find that ministers have the ability to appoint or allocate resources without accounting for that power. It is imperative that in any sector that is going to function efficiently and effectively that every power is accounted for,” he said.
He added that the loss of funds from the ministry had so far been petty but systematic and proposed that those responsible face the full force of the law.
“It is important to recover monies that were stolen. Crimes were committed and we have statues within the Kenyan law that punish people who steal public money so those found guilty after the investigations are complete should be made accountable,” said Mr Ogonda.
Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Education David Koech said it would summon all relevant officials during its probe.
“When we start our investigations we will look into every stakeholder in the education sector; right from the minister to the lowest official. It is not a question of ‘we are summoning this because of this’ but it is our duty to ensure that every accounting officer explains to us what he or she has done or has failed to do,” he said.
Nominated MP Rachael Shebesh blamed the top officials in the ministry for the perennial corruption and called for their immediate resignation.
“Some people are saying it should be the PS, others are saying it should be the District Education officers and others are saying it should be the two Principals. I am saying the buck stops where the buck stops. If I leave Sh10,000 with my house help to buy food for two months while I’m away and then she/he disappears with the money, my children who will have gone hungry for two months will not blame her/him. They will blame me. We must stop hiding under the cover of our tribe and party affiliations,” she stated.
Ms Shebesh further blamed the public for the loss of funds from the ministry saying it allowed public officials to steal with impunity.
“These days I’m not even annoyed with the Mutahis and Ongeris of the day. I am annoyed with you Kenyans; the teachers and the general public because you are all enablers. Corruption is reigning in this country because we have a society that permits it,” she said.
Joy Karemesi (Urban Slum Basic Education Campaign) added that the freezing of the FPE fund meant that education would be expensive for some families and the number of children not enrolled in schools would Increase from the current eight million.
“Currently each child in a public school gets Sh1,020 annually because of the grants while those in the informal education system get Sh650. This scandal will mean a further decrease in the allocations,” she said.
The study was based on 500 schools nationwide.