Economy

Parliament considers audit of Sh7 billion varsity grants

Simon Nabukwesi

Higher Education Principal Secretary Simon Nabukwesi. NMG PHOTO

The Education ministry is on the spot over failure to account for Sh7.1 billion grants for State-sponsored students in 30 private universities.

University Education Principal Secretary Simon Nabukwesi and Universities Funding Board (UFB) chief finance officer Geoffrey Monari failed to provide satisfactory responses confirming that students enrolled in private institutions had benefited from State-backed tuition fees.

The National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is now considering ordering a forensic audit into the expenditure on 29,729 students who were enrolled in the 30 private universities for the last three financial years.

The committee dismissed a printout giving details and amounts allocated to each student in the private universities to back the Sh7.1 billion expenditures.

“This list makes no sense to us. It is an excel worksheet that can’t be authenticated. Before we order a forensic audit, we want you to go back and give us names of beneficiary students at Catholic University of East Africa, Riara, and Daystar University,” said PAC chairman Opiyo Wandayi.

He directed Mr Nabukwesi to include covering letters from Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service and UFB that necessitated disbursements to the benefiting students from the three out of 30 private universities.

The committee interrogated Mr Nabukwesi on Auditor-General Nancy Gathugu’s finding that the ministry could not confirm receipts of grants, which includes Sh1.97 billion in respect of grants to 30 private universities for 29,729 government-sponsored students in the year to June 2019.