ON THE SPOT

Tunai told to explain Sh605m stalled school projects

Says he got approval from Controller of Budget and Education ministry

In Summary

•Narok Governor Samuel Tunai was on Monday questioned overSh605 million stalled school projects initiated by his administration.

• The county chief was pressed to explain why he spent money on building classrooms, laboratories and dormitories,  a function of the national government.

Narok Governor Samuel Tunai.
QUIZZED: Narok Governor Samuel Tunai.
Image: FILE

Narok Governor Samuel Tunai on Monday was on put on the spot over Sh605 million stalled school projects initiated by his administration.

The county chief was pressed to explain why his administration spent money on building classrooms, laboratories and dormitories, which is a function of the national government.

Appearing before the Senate County Public Accounts and Investment Committee (CPAIC), the county chief was asked to explain why his administration incurred the expenditure in the 2017-18 financial without a structured framework from the Education ministry on building primary and secondary schools.

 

“As you know, counties are struggling to get revenue. However, I know the county assembly might have approved this expenditure, but what exactly may have motivated you to use money meant for other development budgets? " Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei asked.

I want to confirm  we were allowed by the COB to put money in school infrastructure both primary and secondary.
Narok Governor Samuel Tunai

Cherargei said school facilities are supposed to be financed by the CDF cash and other monies released by the national government.

Governor Tunai defended the expenditure saying he got approval from the Controller of the Budget to incur the expenditure and approval from the Ministry of Education to implement the projects.

"I wrote to the COB to request and put money in the budget and spend for infrastructure and bursary, which is outside the devolved functions. I want to confirm that we were allowed by the COB to put money in the school infrastructure both primary and secondary," he said.

The county chief emphasised the need to build the facilities, explaining his country lacks schools and other important educational facilities.

He said when he was elected,  his administration carried out a thorough public participation exercise to develop a county integrated development plan (CIDP), which approved the construction of the school facilities.

“We tried so much to stick to devolved functions but when you go to a community, a public baraza and there is not a single school, when you want to stick to the devolved unit, the whole baraza said no, they only want a boarding school for their children,” Tunai said.

“In terms of the stalled projects, over 99 per cent of the primary and secondary schools whether classes, dormitories, dining halls or teachers' houses have been fully been completed and children are in those schools,” he added.

But the committee chaired by Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang’ was not persuaded and demanded to know how the county government integrates what the national government does through NG-CDF.

“Narok county has six constituencies, which totals up Sh600 million CDF allocation every financial year. If the government releases Sh600 million to go to the constituencies in Narok county for construction of primary and secondary schools, and then governor is still required to set aside Sh600 million for the same function,” Kajwang' said

“How then do we integrate what the national government through NG-CDF is doing vis-à-vis the county government?” he asked.

Tunai said, "Our MPs are doing a job but the money is not enough, that why we are putting more, I must say."

In his audit for the year under review, immediate former Auditor General Edward Ouko had queried Sh393 million remitted to primary schools and Early Childhood Development Learning Centres for the construction of classrooms and other infrastructure.

At the same time, a further Sh212 million was remitted to secondary and other school infrastructure, all totalling Sh605 million. A physical verification done on November 8, 2018, revealed that structures were not complete and no work was going on.

“In the circumstances, the objective of these projects have not been achieved. Further, the public has not realised value out of the funds that have been tied up in the stalled projects,” the auditor said.

(Edited by V. Graham)