Private Universities Unable to account for Sh1.4b
The government yesterday claimed that private universities which received Sh1.4 billion as funding for State-sponsored students have failed to provide documents detailing how the money was spent.
Higher Education and Research Principal Secretary Beatrice Inyangala told National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the universities were unresponsive when the department sought answers regarding the money following questions raised by the office of the Auditor General.
The committee is interrogating the audited accounts of the State department for the 2021/22 financial year.
Inyangala, who was responding to queries raised by the Auditor, said the universities had disputed the figures saying the data they submitted was correct.
“The private universities have not been responsive when we request for this information. Most of the affected universities have disputed the findings indicating that the data they submitted to the University Funding Board was correct,” said Inyangala.
The Auditor General unearthed many irregularities in the funding of private universities including disbursement of funds to non-existent students, those who may have deferred or dropped out, overpayment and lack of acknowledgement letters.
But MPs accused the PS, who asked for more time to engage the universities, of not taking the matter seriously.
Chairperson John Mbadi (Nominated), Otiende Amollo (Rarieda), Wilberforce Oundo (Funyula), Mohamed Adow (Wajir South) and Nabii Nabwera (Lugari) demand that the PS provides the committee with the documentation showing the list of all the beneficiaries, the date of disbursement of the funds and the period each student has been studying.
“Madam PS please give us acknowledgement letters together with all the receipts showing the disbursement of the funds to the said institutions,” said Mbadi.
Amollo said that based on what the PS had said, it was evident that fraud was committed which explained why some of the universities had declined to provide documentation on how the money was spent.
Nabwera told Inyangala to provide the committee with documents showing how the government ended up funding the universities as well as prove that the institutions are recognised by Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (Kuccps).
Documents tabled before the committee by the University Funding Board show that private universities that received the government funds include Africa International University Sh35.2 million, AMREF International University Sh1.04 million, Pioneer International University Sh63.02 million, Presbyterian University of East Africa Sh160.81 million and Raf International University Sh5.24 million
Interestingly, at Raf International University, a student at its Kisaju campus was funded by the government to the tune of Sh2.44 million for a degree programme that is not been indicated.
In addition, the report indicates that some Sh198.5 million was disbursed to three universities, namely the International Leadership University, St Paul’s University and Uzima University College.
The three universities confirmed to have only received Sh183.34 million resulting in an unexplained variance of Sh15.2 million.