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KACC goes for suspended education ministry senior staff

BUSINESS
By | Jan 13th 2010 | 4 min read
By | January 13th 2010
BUSINESS

By Sam Otieno

Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) officers raided the homes of suspended Ministry of Education officers in a new twist in the education funds scandal.

The dawn raid came amid accusations the anti-graft body was not probing all claims of misappropriation of education funds. The officers, accompanied by policemen, raided the homes of Mrs Concillia Ondiek and other colleagues who are under suspension.

Several documents including vehicle logbooks, bank statements, title deeds and electricity bills were confiscated in the 6.30am raid.

Those who were suspended are Ondiek (Secondary), Enos Magwa (Secondary), Martin Orwa (Secondary), Patrick Agan (Secondary), Thomas Omuga (Quality Assurance), John Mbogo (Accountant in the secondary section).

Others are Paul Odhiambo (ICT Secondary), Christine Chaacha (Secondary) Mutwaro Gitonga (Secondary), Fredrick Odhiambo (Secondary), Daniel Simiyu (Policy) and Dorothy Ndia, (Secondary).

Mr Orwa, Mr Magwa and Mr Agan have since been reinstated.

The suspended officers are being investigated over workshops they conducted for the secondary section.

Questions are now being asked why KACC is not investigating the misappropriation of monies meant for Free Primary Education (FPE) alongside the secondary training cash scam.

Britain suspended its funding for the programme over corruption in the Kenya Education Sector Support Programme and the Western Kenya Community Driven Development Project.

The Government then suspended 50 officials linked to the programmes. The media later reported on audit queries over the disappearance of over Sh100 million for FPE.

President Kibaki directed that the culprits who stole the free schooling money be investigated and action taken. Chairman of the Parliamentary Accounts Committee Dr Bonny Khalwale has criticised KACC over the manner in which it is conducting investigations.

He took issue with the morning raid on the homes of the 15 suspended officers terming it selective investigations. "The directive from the President and World Bank is that FPE money is lost and should be investigated, but what they are investigating is secondary section," said Khalwale.

Limit investigation

Speaking from Parliament Buildings yesterday, he said it was wrong for KACC to limit its investigations to people forwarded to it by the PS Prof Karega Mutahi.

The PS is on record as saying that he has handed 15 files to KACC for investigations. "If KACC has found there is a problem on secondary section also while investigating the FPE money, they should say so, but the selective investigations will not be allowed," he said. Khalwale said Education minister Sam Ongeri and his PS Karega Mutahi should be brought to account.

He said Ongeri will have to answer the queries in Parliament once it reopens.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Secretary General Lawrence Majali had asked Prof Mutahi to tell stakeholders why only 15 cases of officers from secondary, policy and accounts section are the subject of investigations yet money that has disappeared belongs to the basic education section.

Dismissed queries

But a furious Mutahi dismissed the queries last Friday during a stakeholders meeting at KIE.

As KACC was conducting the raid, names of senior officers at the primary section who are not being investigated but took imprests to undertake similar workshops alongside their secondary colleagues surfaced.

Others took imprests but never set foot at any workshop but later surrendered receipts to clear their accounts.

Documents in our possession indicate that one woman took an imprest of Sh90,000 to undertake a workshop on HIV and Aids and life skills but she never attended.

The workshop took place at Kamwenje Teachers Training College between April 12 last year for 21 days. Another official took an imprest of Sh2,632,000 to conduct a workshop in Kisumu on May 15, 2009.

Another officer took an imprest of Sh1,370,000 to conduct training of school infrastructure committee on May 15, 2009. Yet another one took an imprest of Sh1,450,500 for the same workshop, similar dates of May 14 appear on the documents.

It is not clear why the two took huge sums of money separately to do a similar thing at the same time.

The breakdown was almost similar to workshop kitty was indicated as per diem Sh65,000, per diem for drivers Sh52,500, transport Sh1,002,000, facilitation Sh128,000, stationery Sh120,000, fuel Sh30,000, photocopy Sh50,000 and airtime Sh5000.

Took an imprest

Another officer took an imprest of Sh2,368,000 on May 20, last year, to conduct training of school management committees for Non-formal education support, still in the same period.

Another officer took an imprest of Sh1,150,200 on May 27, to conduct a national de-worming exercise in Kirinyaga. A Public Relations officer also took an imprest of over Sh1.5 million to conduct a national de-worming exercise at the same time.

Another officer took an imprest of Sh1,210,500 on a workshop on estimated expenditures for tracking, induction and relaunch programmes.

However, none of the above officers is under investigations.

Yesterday, KACC public relations officer Mr Nicholas Simani said the commission’s duty was to investigate, not to relieve people off their duties. When asked whether KACC was investigating FPE, Simani said: "We are working on a particular direction which we have been made to believe that deserves investigations regarding the misappropriation of funds in the Ministry of Education as a whole."

He said KACC was investigating funds under the Kenya Education Sector Support Programme, from which the FPE draws lion share of funds.

Ongeri has distanced himself from the scam saying he joined the ministry five years after the introduction of free primary school.

Speaking at her home yesterday, Ondiek said she is being investigated over an imprest of Sh2 million she took to undertake a workshop on double shifts in secondary schools.

She claimed that she had accounted for the cash and that to date no audit query has been raised on the matter.

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