How Sh880m was disbursed to universities for former students

Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu. [Samson Wire, Standard]

Parliament is now Investigating how 32 universities received Sh883 million as funding to students amid disparity in the enrollment of learners.

This was prompted by a probe by Auditor General Nancy Gathungu who recommended that some 15 universities refund Sh201,671,080 they spent on students funded under Government sponsored students SS but not placed by KUCCPS.

She also directed 14 universities to refund Sh17,774,388 spent on students whose names were duplicated in the payment schedules for the period under review.

The National Assembly public investment committee on governance and education commenced the probe yesterday following a special audit report on the KUCCPS programme by the office of the Auditor General.

The audit had been recommended by the committee which was perturbed by concerns of authenticity and efficiency of public investments particularly; the use of public funds in universities across the country.

Committee Chairperson Wanami Wamboka who is also the MP for Bumula said that despite receiving funds from the government, private universities have never been audited by the Auditor General which depicted lack of accountability for public funds.

“It was also noted that private universities register students from the Government Sponsored Program denying public universities with capacity the ability to enroll such students," Wamboka said.

“…With the recommendation that the commitment should fully equip public universities with students and resources, the committee held a meeting with the Principal Secretary, State Department for Higher Education and Research and the Auditor- General on 28 February, 2023 on capitation funds to private universities, resulting in a request by the committee for a special audit of the same since the start of the program in 2016/2017 financial year,” she added.

The special report interrogated operations of funds disbursed to private universities from financial year 2016/2017 to 2022/2023.

According to the report, the universities are now on the spot for funding a total 9,489 students at Sh412.7 million for periods exceeding duration of academic programmes.

The report revealed that 15 universities received Sh201,67 million under the programme but proceeded to fund some 4,521 students not placed by KUCCPS.

One of the private universities got Sh 47,218,801 and sponsored some 1,042 non-Government Sponsored Students (GSS),while another pocketed Sh57,392,027 for 1,331 students, and a third got Sh3,745,653 for 53 students

“The private universities should refund Sh201,671,080 spent on students funded under GSS not placed by KUCCPS,” stated the report.

Another 14 universities were directed to refund Sh17.7 million spent on students whose names were duplicated in the payment schedules. One university had duplicated the names of 23 and who were allocated Sh 1,158,621 for the period under review.

Another had 34 duplicated students who got Sh1,980,965, while a third had 3 students who got Sh177,105.

“The universities involved should refund an amount of Sh17,774,388 spent on students whose names were duplicated in the payment schedules. Further, the Universities Fund should ensure that no students receive double allocations of funds in future,” added the report.

Gathungu also revealed that Sh15,759,377,812 was budgeted for disbursement to the private universities, out of which Sh15,762,573,515 was disbursed, resulting in overall over disbursement of Sh3,195,703.

Further, she noted that there were discrepancies between state department and universities records on disbursements. State Department's financial statements indicated Sh15,762,573,515 as having been disbursed to the 32 private universities for the period under review while the individual university's records provided for audit, indicated that Sh15,600,208,031 was received, resulting in an unexplained variance of Sh162,365,484.

“The State Department should therefore account for the Sh162,365,484 indicated as disbursed to the private universities but not received. The Government should also formulate policy to guide the implementation of capitation funds for government-sponsored students in private universities. The policy should include provisions for minimum and maximum funding levels based on a student's needs and program duration among other critical matters,” added the report.

The committee has now invited KUCCPS directors, the Education Principal Secretary and the umbrella body representing private universities to appear before it for questioning next Wednesday.

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