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MCAS QUESTION FINANCIAL PRUDENCE

Bursary funds theft exposed in Nyandarua

Committee scrutinising estimates for Sh26.9 billion budget for 2019-2020, many problems exposed

In Summary

• Mbugua says the crafty swindlers who act as go-betweens sell the cheques to the beneficiaries.

•There are questions why the executive has not cleared pending bills despite having allocatyed Sh830 million in the  supplementary budget.

Nyandarua assembly Budget committee chairman Kiiru Gachomba and his Education counterpart Sambigi Mukuria scrutinising 2019-20 budget estimates on Tuesday.
STOLEN BURSARIES: Nyandarua assembly Budget committee chairman Kiiru Gachomba and his Education counterpart Sambigi Mukuria scrutinising 2019-20 budget estimates on Tuesday.
Image: NDICHU WAINAINA

Crafty people have been stealing bursary money from the Nyandarua county government.

The county Education executive  Faith Mbugua told lawmakers that swindlers have been acting as middlemen between ignorant parents and the bursary committees. They later sell cheques to the parents at a fee.

She made the disclosure Tuesday before a committee of the whole that is scrutinising budget estimates for 2019-20.

 

The total budget is 26.5 billion.

“I remember a case where a person had secured a bursary cheque of more than Sh50, 000 for a student who was supposed to join a national school, and then it was sold for Sh15, 000 to the rightful beneficiary,” she said.

The beneficiary was nabbed as he tried to change the name of the national school on the cheque and replace it with a smaller ‘affordable’ school. The county intervened and the student was taken to a different national school.

Mbugua told the MCAs that in other instances some older men with no schoolgoing children wanted to collect cheques for 15 people. It was suspected that the purported beneficiaries could be nonexistent as the men could not identify them.

Education committee chairman Sambigi Mukuria urged everyone in the education sector to try to identify and stem the vice.

He urged the county to be more vigilant when identifying beneficiaries, processing bursary cheques and issuing them out.

The CEC also told the committee the county intends to organise a cultural festival, come up with a County Anthem and put up a social hall in Ol Kalou Town. Money had been set aside, he said

 

An argument ensued after Mbugua failed to explain why the county executive dropped hiring ECDE teachers, as funds had been factored into the budget.

“I was informed that the plan to recruit the teachers had been dropped by the county secretary,” Mbugua said.

The committee said hiring ECDE teachers should have priority over the school feeding program initiated last year.

The Committee of the Whole questioned the financial management by the executive as department executives started appearing to questions raised by the MCAs on Monday.

The MCAs questioned the county's capacity to raise projected local revenue of Sh600 million, saying it may not be possible.

Budget committee chairman Kiiru Gachomba said measures must be put in place to ensure he projected amounts are achieved in accordance with the Finance Act.

The legislators said that in 2017-18 the county only absorbed  Sh2.8 billion or 44 per cent. This calls into question the ability of the government to absorb funds.

SpeakerWahome Ndegwa, questioned the ballooning wage bill and asked why the assembly has not been given the wage bill for scrutiny.

He asked why ECDE teachers were not employed, despite Sh40 million having been set aside.

Secretary  Mwangi Kahiro defended the increasing wage bill, saying it resulted from the annual increment of staff salaries, salaries review by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission and increments awarded to nurses after their strike.

He said the government is preparing for an external payroll audit.

MCAs raised concerns over nonpayment of pending bills despite the allocation of Sh830 million in the supplementary budget.

Transport, Energy and Public Works CEC  Ndung’u Wangenye said his department has Sh400 million pending bills; Sh250 million has been paid so far. He said verification ofSh27 million bills is underway and they should be cleared before June 20.