By Walter Menya
December 14 2009
Controversy over the UK’s withholding of education grants to Kenya deepened Monday with revelations that free primary education may have lost up to Sh6 billion through corruption.
The mega-scandal potentially puts the future of 8.6 million primary school pupils in jeopardy and increases the likelihood of placing the school fees burden on the parents who are already groaning under the weight of heavy taxes and high cost of living.
Also questioned is the whereabouts of Sh3.2 billion meant for infrastructure development in schools under the Kenya Education Sector Support Programme believed to have been channelled to accounts of undeserving schools.
State House has said President Kibaki had ordered a full investigation into the matter.
Kenya National Association of Parents also dug in with calls for the President to take action against education minister Prof Sam Ongeri, permanent secretary Prof Karega Mutahi and Chief Finance Officer in the ministry Alice Ngichu.
“In the eye of the storm are the PS Prof Karega Mutahi and the Chief Finance Officer in the Ministry. These are the two signatories to the free education funds accounts,” said association secretary general Musau Ndunda and chairman Genard Nyaga.
Attempts to reach Prof Mutahi failed as he was said to be in Tunisia on official duty while Ms Ngichu said she was not authorised to speak to the media.
Since FPE started in 2003, the government has released Sh48 billion. However, the Education ministry has not released Sh4.2 billion to primary schools in the last six months thereby crippling learning activities across the country.
An analysis by KNAP shows that the public has been losing an average of Sh92 million every year since the programme was launched in 2003.
The report says that ministry officials have been varying the amounts released to schools and pocketing the difference. Parliament in 2003 approved Sh1,020 per child in primary school yet the ministry has been giving less than this amount.
Save for 2003 when the ministry released Sh1,094 per child the other years have been averaging at Sh900 per child. The difference is unaccounted for.
News of the mega-scandal came to the fore last week after the UK government threatened to withhold funding for the seven-year programme following the misappropriation of Sh100 million.
The money had been budgeted for constructing of new classrooms and buying text books for poor students in poverty ravaged districts.
Already, 25 officers at the ministry have been suspended over the scandal.
President has ordered a full probe into the alleged scandal after UK froze its grants
However, one of those suspended acting Senior Deputy Director of Education Concellia Ondiek on Monday denied the claims saying she was only but a scapegoat.
Mrs Ondiek said the funds that the UK government had mentioned were meant for primary schools and not secondary schools section which she handles. The British High Commission meanwhile maintains that indeed they are one and the same thing.
She was suspended alongside her two deputies Mr Enos Magwa and a Mr Orwa in September. The Nation learnt their suspension letters were based on a draft report of an internal committee investigating the loss of funds.
Submitted by mzee_moja
Posted December 15, 2009 04:26 PM
Kibaki and Raila must do something, not just empty rhetoric. People who commit such like crimes should be in prison for not less than 80 years and all their assets frozen. This will serve as a lesson to the rest. It seems Kenya has become no.1 country in making quick money and going scot free. Investigations untill end of time with no results, coz other issues crop up and we forget very fast.
Submitted by hamishmusa
Posted December 15, 2009 03:40 PM
Just think about those poor 8.6 million primary school children! It is becoming increasingly apparent that Kenya, in its hour of need, has a political system that is not fit for purpose! It’s bizarre beyond belief!
Submitted by zax
Posted December 15, 2009 02:40 PM
This is indeed very shameful! but wait and see what will be done to the culprits..Kenya will never cease to be Kenya. It's very unfair..the names involved are 'bigger' than the law!!!
Submitted by nyarateng
Posted December 15, 2009 01:07 PM
Ooh my! 6bn!! Kibaki this people must account for this money right from the Minister is no accountability is demanded from them then it was organised, there is no way 6bn can just disappear without any explanation as to whereabouts of the same.I agree with Mr. Ndunda and the expression on this pic! tells it all he is mad at everybody! Please help kenya and the poor
Submitted by lukongodo
Posted December 15, 2009 12:47 PM
Yes let us all eat..~I do not even bother anymore!
Submitted by timokam
Posted December 15, 2009 12:25 PM
Its very distasteful and regrettable that almost all public officials are driven by selfish interests, rather than public good. We should think of out-of-the box ways of solving this issues. Maybe we should radically empower the young Kenyans to replace this corrupt groups; Revamping the sector with young independent, nationalistic, morally-upright and brilliant minds might will not only tap their energies but and probably give us the FRESH START, which we very much need. Its a fact that young people are more accountable and flexible than the old-timers.
Submitted by rofi
Posted December 15, 2009 12:16 PM
This photo,...how does it make you feel?
Submitted by anto12
Posted December 15, 2009 09:41 AM
very sad the president should act on this issue perfectly and punish those involved.
Submitted by Kibutu Kiiru
Posted December 15, 2009 09:37 AM
Oh our Kenya, where do we get genuine human beings, people who will be only fond of reaping from where they sow? The worst is Kenya as a country has so many enemies within herself. How would such huge amount of money just disappear unaccounted for? Whoever took this money knows him/herself and should stand cursed forever. Quite sad that this sensitive sector of social economics can be subjected to this suffering by the benefitting nationals.
Submitted by akokoobote
Posted December 15, 2009 07:57 AM
my dear Kenyans, for how long will 'thieves' continue stealing and we just wait and watch? Why should we continues just suspending thieves instead of 'storing' them at Kamiti? I think we need to borrow from china. You steal public fund-execuited. You mess with public milk-Killed. Akoko
Submitted by Bwana_Yesu
Posted December 15, 2009 07:55 AM
A look at the top guns in the Ministry of Education reveals one thing: other than the minister, all the others are members of one community! How do you expect them not to collude in mother-tongue?
Submitted by ureaplasma
Posted December 15, 2009 07:53 AM
What a country! Nothing, absolutely nothing can be done without a slice of the pie getting into the wrong hands...I am sure an audit of ALL government programs would certainly make us cry!
Submitted by crimson
Posted December 15, 2009 04:34 AM
Shame.."our time to eat attitude" is the new motto 2002-2012. These pple will steal from even a malnourished dying child. Why even try to investigated... honestly kenyans for what? well maybe to give a job to ur kin. If the foreign donors need to help the real needy kenyans, please bypass the obese cats. please initiate and supervise you donor projects/ funds without any association to the politicians and the 'know it alls' sorry but this is very shameful
Submitted by skapten
Posted December 15, 2009 02:08 AM
Is this a joke? I believe suspending corrupt individuals is not enough. Immediately freeze their accounts, and hold all their assets until the case is resolved. Investigations will do us no good. We need radical retribution. This is immoral. Putting 8.6m kids out of school? And call it corruption?
Submitted by beejaychester
Posted December 15, 2009 01:21 AM
I support Donors move to with hold funds. These are the things you expect when people are given AID. The will mis use it and the money will end up with the few people with connections. Kibaki should be responsible since this happened under his leadership. Raila also needs to carry this responsibility.
Submitted by werssylwer
Posted December 15, 2009 01:00 AM
People ought to appear in court. This is unacceptable. What do they want poor kids to do? This is about the future of our country. This is treason. We must have a Death Penalty for these economic crimes. A Death Penalt that is actually carried out.
Submitted by Jeshurun
Posted December 15, 2009 12:30 AM
The public lost 92 billion while the ministry releases just 48 billion and the British Govt warns of losing 100 million. Who should be crying more now? And yet!
Submitted by fuzzy99ke
Posted December 15, 2009 12:22 AM
It's no wonder investors are cautious(reluctant) to invest in Kenya, not just foreign investors but successful Kenyans around the world. If you ask me, I don't blame them. I would personally consider investing somewhere else before I consider Kenya and if I did invest in Kenya, I wouldn't let a local run my investments.
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