MOE Paid ksh. 1.8B To Ghost Students: Auditor General

Auditor pokes holes in Sh2b used to procure desks for CBC learners

Auditor General Nancy Gathungu has questioned the procurement of computers and desks for the Competency-Based Curriculum at a cost of ksh2 billion.

In a report she tabled in parliament late last week, Gathungu accused the State Department of Early Learning and Basic Education of a breach to the law in undertaking the exercise.

Out of the ksh 2 billion, ksh1.9 billion was to supply a total of 70 desks and 50 lockers to primary and secondary schools respectively so as to fulfil the Ministry of Health protocols on social distancing due to the Covid-19.

The move was also meant to stimulate the economy by providing job opportunities to local artisans while Sh199.9 million was paid to a firm for the supply and delivery of 2,040 computers to 200 secondary schools countrywide.

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With respect to desks, Gathungu also fingered officials who were paid Sh10.2 million as subsistence allowance from the said money.

Auditor also observed that the expenditure of Sh10.2 million was against Section 79(2b) of Public Finance and Management Act 2012, which states that a public officer employed in a State organ or public entity should ensure prudent and transparent use of resources.

“A total of Sh10,214,400 was paid to staff from the State department headquarters as daily subsistence allowances to monitor distribution of desks and lockers to their respective destinations in all counties notwithstanding (the fact) that the department has established offices countrywide and the staff in these offices could have been used with minimal or no cost,” said Gathungu.

Gathungu regretted that the department proceeded with the procurement yet records to ascertain value for money, quality of the suppliers, how uniform prices were arrived at and competition among artisans were not provided for audit review.

She said details on how the needs assessment was identified were not provided, adding that social distancing in secondary schools could not have been achieved through an increased number of lockers without a corresponding increase in the number of classrooms or student population.

“Authority to Incur Expenditures totaling Sh1,897,135,000 dated October 1, 2020 were sent to all 47 counties but funding was not effected and instead, actual payments were centralised at the head office using a Safaricom application not prescribed by the Treasury,” Auditor states.

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