, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 6 – Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i wants the Kenya National Association of Parents (KNAP) investigated for extortion and a lack of transparency in its accounting.
Matiang’i says he has received numerous complaints about the Association since he assumed office at the Ministry in November and has therefore invited the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to look into them.
In a letter to DCI head Ndegwa Muhoro, Matiang’i says he’s received reports that the Association applies, “coercion and menaces,” to extort money from schools, parents and to intimidate Ministry officials who dare to question their practices.
He says the Association has abused the court processes by using them as a tool for the, “harassment and intimidation,” of Ministry officials, “through real and imagined litigation process in a manner aimed at disrupting the smooth running of schools and accountability for resources.”
Still on accountability, he wants the Association investigated for contravening the Societies Act by failing to submit audited accounts for review.
Refuting the charges made by Matiang’i, Association Secretary General Musau Ndunda says their accounts are open to scrutiny, “in line with laid down procedures.”
He’s also taken exception at what he says is Matiang’i’s portrayal of him as a conman. “Like many other Kenyans out there, I am struggling to make ends meet. I know nothing of these million dollar amounts being bandied about.”
He’s however declined to divulge exactly how much it is the Association collects from schools saying the schools themselves should be questioned.
Last month after Matiang’i directed all County Directors of Education to ensure no more monies were remitted to the Association, Ndunda threatened to sue him for defamation.
Matiang’i gave the directive, “after establishing that the parents association is not that envisaged in law,” given an umbrella body should have other associations from the school and county levels as its members and not individuals as is the case with KNAP.
The Ministry and the Association are also involved in a legal tussle over parent association elections in public schools.
KNAP wants the Ministry prevented from, “interfering,” with the elections which it insists are its preserve.