, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 9 – Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Tuesday grilled beleaguered Education Permanent Secretary Karega Mutahi over the loss of Sh100 million allocated to the free education programme.
Prof Mutahi put on a brave face in the wake of calls for his resignation over the scandal and instead urged Kenyans not to politicise the management of the education sector.
“The challenge we have and what we have been appealing is to get politics out of education because if you destroy the systems you destroy the future. It is critical that we focus on the job,” he said.
He told the committee led by PAC Vice Chairman Daniel Muoki that the programme has been monitored using international standards.
“This programme has been audited every year by at least three auditors – the external auditor, the internal auditor and the school audit- this is the most studied and most monitored programme,” he said.
He told the Committee that the programme had twice been audited by two international firms in the last five years saying it was a hallmark in the Continent’s education sector only being ranked next to Benin.
At the same time, Prof Mutahi urged donors not to stop funding the free education programme.
“While we can provide free education to Kenyan children the conditions in which they learn need to be improved rapidly,” appealed the PS.
The committee said it would deliberate on the matter once it receives the audited report from the Controller and Auditor General.
“Based on that report probably you can come and share on the areas that have raised concerns,” said Konoin MP Julius Kones. “This committee only deals with audited reports. We don’t want to base our information on hearsay and rumours.”
Both Prof Mutahi and the Minister Prof Sam Ongeri are scheduled to appear before the Parliamentary Committee on Education, Research and Technology on Thursday.
The Ministry of Education has been on the spot since last December, when the UK suspended funding, citing the loss of about Sh100 million meant to fund education.