Private varsities unwilling to share documents on state-funded students— PS

Inyangala on Monday expressed her frustrations in getting the key papers that have become an audit query

In Summary
  • Government spent Sh1.4 billion to fund students in private universities.
  • Inyangala expressed her frustrations in getting key documents to support the disbursements.
PAC chairman John Mbadi during a session with IEBC officials on Monday.
ELECTION AFTERMATH: PAC chairman John Mbadi during a session with IEBC officials on Monday.

Private universities have been unwilling to share documentation of the Sh1.4 billion advanced to them in respect to government sponsored students, MPs have been told.

Higher Education and Research Principal Secretary Beatrice Inyangala on Monday expressed her frustrations in getting the key documents that have now become an audit query.

Appearing before the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee, Inyangala told the team that private universities have been reluctant to provide her office with the details of the disbursements.

Among the documents the private facilities are unwilling to share are the acknowledgement letters confirming the funds reached the learning institutions, as well as the details of the students who were the beneficiaries.

In her 2021/22 audit report, Auditor General Nancy Gathungu raised red flag on the funding of private institutions.

Gathungu in her report indicates Sh265.3 million was given to five private universities which were not backed by any acknowledgement from the recipient institutions.

There were also no receipts from the private universities to confirm the transactions.

According to the report, a further Sh198.5 million was given to three other private universities which however confirmed receiving only Sh183.34 million leaving out Sh15.2 million unaccounted for.

There is also Sh22.6 million that was disbursed to 13 universities for 404 students.

The PS on Monday told the committee chaired by nominated MP John Mbadi that her office has faced difficulty anytime she tries to ask for the documents.

“The private universities have not been responsive when we request for this information. They have disputed the figures contained in the audit report,” Inyangala said.

Gathungu also expressed fears that the money could have been disbursed to students who had differed or quit studies.

“The transfer of Sh136.3 million was made for 3,357 students who had graduated by November 2021. Therefore the management may have disbursed funds for students who had already completed studies and exited the universities,” the audit reads.

The audit notes that a further Sh377 million was disbursed for 8,964 students who were not active in the period July 2021 to June 2022 “as they had not registered to sit for the scheduled exams in their respective universities.”

The damning report also indicates that Sh337.21 million was disbursed for 7,828 students who had been in the universities for more than four years and therefore, beyond the normal period undertaken for most undergraduate programmes.

This means that taxpayers’ money may have been paid to private universities for non-existent students.

Further analysis by the auditors also revealed most of the students had been duplicated resulting into an overpayment.

MPs sitting at the powerful committee faulted Inyangala for handling the matter casually as a time billions of taxpayers’ moneys are at stake.

The PS pleaded for more time to get the supporting documents.

The PS was speaking when she appeared before the watchdog committee that is currently considering the state department’s accounts for the 2021/22 financial year.

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