The Ministry of Education could have lost over Kshs. 3.7Billion through inflation of student enrollment numbers and creation of ghost schools in an intricate web spanning across three financial years.
A report by the Auditor General Nancy Gathungu reveals that the taxpayers could have lost as much as Kshs1.81 billion at the Ministry of Education in Financial Year (FY) 2019-2020 alone though overpayments issued out as subsidies to public schools in different counties.
The Auditor General said key documents to support the payments were not made available during the audit in a scheme traced back to FYs 2017-18/ 2018-19. The suspected scheme to syphon taxpayers’ money meant as subsidies to schools used inflation of student numbers, creation of ghost schools and double payments to some institutions.
Ms. Gathangu latest report revealed that there was an overpayment of Kshs.1.81 billion to about 2,610 public secondary schools in different counties of which Kshs.26.83 million was disbursed to five schools whose existence was in doubt.
Failure to avail schools’ registration certificates, Teachers’ Service Commission (TSC) appointments and posting letters, minutes of boards of management meetings meant the Auditor General could not confirm accuracy and validity of further subsidies of a further Kshs.58.77 billion for the year ended June 2020.
The auditors’ report stated that in FY 2018-19, Kshs.919.17 million was disbursed to schools that could not be traced as they had no identification numbers, or were not in the ministry’s system or the list of registered schools. In the same year, the State department of Education, lost Kshs.8.02 million through irregular disbursements to low-cost county boarding schools, of which, Kshs.6.57 million was overpaid using higher figures than confirmed by county directors of education. Also, a balance of Ksh.1.45 million was paid to undeserving schools not in the list of low-cost boarding Schools.
Discrepancies between the data submitted by the schools and the data reflected by the State Department used for calculation of subsidy to schools, have resulted in overpayment of Kshs.369.90 million to 99 primary schools in 13 counties. Similarly, Kshs.105.90 million was overpaid to 331 public secondary schools in different counties.
Also, manipulation of enrolment data resulted in overpayment of Kshs.269.25 million to 185 schools from 11 counties while Kshs.27.32 million was paid out to two non-existent schools in Kakamega.
A data entry officer, accused of causing variance in the data is reportedly under interdiction and the matter referred to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) for further investigation.
The revelations first came to light when Prof. George Magoha- Education Cabinet Secretary, was being stripped off Human Resource functions by Public Service Commission. The revelations kicked up a storm, with legislators asking investigating agencies to swing into action.