How officer got Sh11m to fund bogus school

KENYA
By Moses Nyamori | March 29th 2021
Public Accounts Committee Chairman Opiyo Wandayi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

A junior officer in the Education Ministry created a fictitious secondary school and went ahead to benefit from over Sh11 million in government disbursement, a new report by MPs has revealed.

The report also revealed that another officer inflated enrolment figures in the system for some schools in what partly occasioned an overpayment of Sh103 million to 150 schools across the country.

The two officers have since been interdicted and their cases referred to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) for investigations even as the ministry moved to recover the overpayments.

The new report, by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), revealed that clerical officer at the Directorate of Education Offices in Kakamega created non-existent school called Mundeku Secondary School in Kakamega County.

The officer identified as Joshua Ocharo Momanyi proceeded to list the school in the disbursement schedule and opened a bank account with Equity Bank where he listed himself as a signatory.

“The committee observed that there was a fictitious school called Mundeku Secondary School in Kakamega County that benefited from the disbursement amounting to Sh11,131,305.53,” states the report tabled in the National Assembly for adoption.

“The said Mr Joshua Ocharo Momanyi was a signatory to the said fictitious school account held at Equity Bank Kakamega,” says the report.

The committee chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi now wants EACC to conclude the probe and have all those culpable prosecuted.

“The committee recommends that within three months after tabling and adoption of this report, the EACC should conclude its investigations. Mr Joshua Ocharo Momanyi and any other public officer and entity found culpable should be duly recommended for prosecution for committing an offence of financial misconduct,” it says.

The report further reveals that there was an overpayment of Sh103,049,164 to 150 schools, occasioned by inflated enrolment figures as well as use of estimated figures of the number of learners.

“While disbursing funds for term one (January 2018), the State Department used estimates since the figures for form one had not been established,” states submission by the ministry.

The report adds that there was an officer who fraudulently inflated enrolment figures in the system for some schools. However, the ministry later reconciled the figures in the two academic years and recovered overpayments in the subsequent disbursement.

“In this regard, the State Department has recovered the total amount of Sh103,049,164.00 as per attached schedule. The officer involved in data entry, who occasioned the variance between enrolment data submitted by schools and the enrolment data used by the State Department for computation of amounts due to schools, was interdicted and the matter referred to Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission for further investigation,” the report says.

A report by the Auditor General had stated that there was an overpayment of Sh269,254,288 to185 schools.

But the ministry explained that it applied different disbursement rates of Sh12,870 and Sh22,244 for the two academic years of 2017 and 2018 respectively.

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