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Leading girls’ school in tussle over money

NAIROBI
By Nunn Asa | August 12th 2012

By Nunn Asa

A storm is brewing at one of Nairobi’s leading girls secondary schools, which is at the centre of corruption allegations.

Some parents have accused the Ngara Girls’ High School administration of having more than 50 ghost students to whom the Government has been allocating subsidies which cumulatively translates to more than Sh2.6 million.

A parent from the school said at least Sh1.9 million paid by parents in aid of the construction of a dormitory had been misappropriated through bloated quotations.

Some of the teachers at the school say they are unhappy with a colleague designated to teach a science subject who has abandoned his students and was now busy as a contractor in the school’s myriad construction projects.

Apparently, the same teacher had also turned into a chemical supplier and was never available to impart (practical) skills to his students who are in Form Four.

Dormitory construction

“The administration has defrauded the school more than Sh1.9 million in dormitory construction — a construction that each parent contributes Sh13,000 per year for the last three years. The dormitory is estimated to cost Sh27 million,” the parent added.

The Parents Teachers Association chairman Lameck Abraham has put the principal, Assumpta Munyasia, on the spot over corruption, nepotism, dictatorship and poor administration.

Following a number of complaints, the Ministry of Education dispatched a team to visit the school to investigate the allegations raised by the PTA.

When The County Weekly contacted Mrs Munyasia to verify the allegations, she denied any wrong doing.

“The parents are not involved in the issues of supplies and purchasing. They are not competent to query such transactions as this is the mandate of the Board of Governors,” Ms Munyasia said.

When pressed for answers concerning alleged misappropriation, Mrs Munyasia said she could not comment further on the matter and disconnected the mobile phone conversation.

Awarding tenders

An assessment report prepared by the Ministry of Education after a visit to the school established that the principal had been awarding school tenders to blacklisted companies and some that belong to her allies.

The report indicated that one of the suppliers who were blacklisted by the BOG prior to her transfer to the school in 2009 but was mysteriously reinstated and tasked to provide the laboratory chemicals having been silently brought back and allowed to participate in the tendering process. 

The report stated that one of the suppliers of the school was a teacher, notorious for skipping classes. The report confirmed the teacher had been contracted to lay water pipes in the school.

The principal, the report had concluded, had on a number of occasions used the school’s Local Purchase Order (LPO) to fuel her personal car from a nearby petrol station on separate occasions.

She has also been accused of buying her medicine using the same LPO, but she has since denied paying for the same with the school’s money. In the report, she is said to have used her money to pay for the medication.

The teachers were unhappy with the way money raised by students for tuition during school holidays was used.

“Each student pays Sh2,500 for a two week tuition. The sessions are in April and August and after each session, the school demands Sh50,000 for electricity and water and a further Sh272,000 for food. This has demoralised teachers as the charges are exorbitant,” a teacher said.

One community

According to the report the school had been accused of firing its lab technician and bursar and replacing them with workers from one community.

The principal has also been accused of interfering with the prefect selection process overruling the nomination process usually done by the teachers and the old prefects body.

In conformity

In the previous nominations, she single-handedly picked the head girl and her deputy.

Concerns have been raised that, majority of the BOG members were from one community although the principal was quoted explaining that she had done this in conformity with the previous practice where the BOG predominantly composed of one ethnic group.

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