Economy

Magoha on the spot over Sh1.9 billion Covid desks

George Magoha

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha sits on one of the new desks provided by the government at Ayany Primary School in Kibra, Nairobi on November 14, 2020. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The Education Ministry is on the spot for paying its officials at the head office Sh10.2 million a day in subsistence allowance to monitor the distribution of desks in the counties despite having local officials on the ground.

Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu has questioned why staff from the headquarters were paid the hefty allowances to monitor the distribution of the desks and lockers even though the State Department has offices in all the counties and the local staff could have been used with minimal or no costs.

Ms Gathungu also says the Education Ministry unprocedurally acquired and paid for desks worth Sh1.9 billion at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

She says the ministry spent the money received from the Treasury to fund schools’ infrastructure on protocols set up by the Health ministry on social distancing due to the Covid-19 pandemic and to stimulate the economy by providing jobs to the local artisans.

She said the State Department hired artisans to supply 70 desks and 50 lockers to primary and secondary schools respectively, for each school selected.

Ms Gathungu said details on how the needs assessment was identified were not provided and social distancing in secondary schools could not have been achieved through an increased number of lockers without the corresponding rise in the number of classrooms or student population.

“This expenditure of Sh10,214,400 was therefore against Section 79(2b) of the Public Finance Management Act, 2012 which states that a public officer employed in a national government state organ or public entity should ensure that resources within the officer’s area of responsibility are used in a way that is lawful and authorised and is effective, efficient, economical and transparent,” she said.

Ms Gathungu said no explanation was provided for using a private application instead of using Integrated Financial Management and Information System (Ifmis) being the national payment system as per the Public Financial Management Act, 2012.

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