Third Eye

Punish persons who stole education funds

Friday, July 2nd, 2021 00:00 |
Pupils in class. Photo/Courtesy

Majority Kenyans are industrious, innovative and men and women of integrity.

However, a few are the exact opposite. This small fraction is heartless and myopic.

A recent government audit report has revealed that some educationists connived with rogue ministry officials to inflate student numbers and as a result received a whopping Sh1.8 billion in capitation for non-existent students.

They did not stop there; more money was wired to schools that only existed on paper. 

The officials came up with projects, some that did not exist and others that were non-essential and these too were allocated hundreds of millions. Like still waters the rot runs deep.

A clerk at the ministry presented a fictitious Mundeku Secondary School, opened a bank account and managed to siphon more than Sh11 million.

The rogue officials also made overpayments to schools while millions more were spent on rental spaces that cannot be justified.

The thieves took advantage of the Covid-19 situation and sought to steal from the return to school stimulus programme. The lowlifes inflated the cost of a desk by Sh1,700.

The government had put an order for 622,000 desks that were to ensure the Covid-19 protocols in schools were observed.

Had the crooks got their way only 250,000 desks would have been delivered; a third of the desks needed.

 According to the ministry, there were 529,997 ghost learners through whom nearly Sh800 million disappeared.

This amount, if put to good use, could have educated thousands of learners who dropped out for myriad reasons.

The amount could have built schools or classes in hundreds of schools. The total amount lost in the phoney schemes stands at Sh3.78 billion.

At the rate of Sh22,244 capitation for a secondary school learner, the amount would have paid a year’s fee for 170,000 students. It is unforgivable that few unscrupulous officials pocketed this amount at the expense of deserving children.

These officials must be hunted down and made to pay for their sins. The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission should not just chase rogue governors; clerks at the Ministry of Education who exploited the system for self-enrichment should have their assets frozen and after due process the government should take over the investments. Indeed, detectives should swing into action and apprehend the suspect officials.

Those who are in court should be dealt with expeditiously so that they start paying for their sins. It takes a rotten society to steal from its children.

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