Last week, a non-existent school was discovered in a parliamentary report and is among four institutions that a publisher was not able to trace in 2018.
This revealed a long-standing corruption scandal that education officials have stolen public funds using ghost schools.
The publisher had been contracted to supply books and reported to the Ministry of Education that they could not trace the four schools in 2018. Their efforts of locating the schools were futile even after contacting the local officials of education.
It has never been revealed whether the issue was dealt with. Also important to note is that the issue only came before the public eye and ears only this month after a parliamentary watchdog exposed how a rogue education official managed to steal money channelled to the fictitious schools.
Among the ghost schools were Mundeku Secondary School, Dol Dol Boys in Laikipia North, Laikipia County (64 students), Belgut Kaptugen Starehe Boys in Belgut sub-county, Kericho Couty (152 students), and Ikonge DEB in Kisii Central, Kisii County (448 students).
The other three schools did not feature in the parliamentary report.
A list given to publishers who supplied books under the Secondary Quality Improvement Program (SEQIP), for instance, was indicated to be having 1,188 students.
The high numbers of enrolment are usually associated with national and a handful of extra-county schools.
Given that the government disburses Sh. 22,244 per learner in secondary school, money that the rogue official could have stolen could have been a lot more.
According to the auditor the figure was at Sh. 27,329,598.95 before the Ministry handed in a lesser figure.
The Ministry’s failure of fully migrating to the National Education Management Information System (NEMIS) has been blamed for the theft of huge chunks of taxpayers’ money lost to corrupt school heads and corrupt officials.
The Public Accounts Committee Report on the Examination of the Auditor-General’s Report on the Financial Statements for the National Government for the Financial Year 2017/2018, reveals the lack of accurate data on learners has caused to loss of money via the manipulation of data.
In one daring case, a former clerical officer at the directorate of education offices in Kakamega County decided to list a non-existent school to receive the government’s disbursement. Through this, the officer planned to steal money from the government.
The report also revealed that another officer had been interdicted for inflating enrolment of 185 schools and this led to the theft of Sh. 269,254,288.
These cases were forwarded to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) for investigations. Chair of the Committee, Opiyo Wandayi tabled the report in Parliament last week.