Jul 29, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – The Ministry of Education (MoE) has blamed poor record keeping for the financial discrepancies identified in the school feeding programme by the Auditor General (AG)’s 2016 report.
The issue came up before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Monday when the committee highlighted concerns over the expenditure of the $2.105 billion dietary allocation.
The records in the AG report pointed to discrepancies in two Region Nine schools. At Karasabai Primary School, the sum of $1.802 million was allegedly stolen by nine students in 2017. While the AG report outlined that $700,000 of the money was repaid and $1.102 million was still to be repaid. At Maruranau Primary School, the report stipulated that the sum of $1.524 million was misappropriated, the sum of $230,200 was recovered and $1.294 million was still to be recovered.
The report noted too that the school receipts and payments of cash books were not properly written up and maintained. Additionally, there was a lack of segregation of duties for school staffers in relation to storekeeping; store ledgers and goods received books were not properly written up and maintained.
During Monday’s session of the PAC, Permanent Secretary (PS) of the MoE, Alfred King, faced a series of questions about the discrepancies that were indentified in the AG report. Minister of Public Works and PAC member, Juan Edghill, had asked the PS to give clarity to the situation surrounding the discrepancies highlighted in the report.
“There are a series of infractions when it comes to these schools. Can the accounting officer give an update on what has been done…?” Edghill asked.
In response, the PS told the committee that the investigation by the MoE uncovered that the issues were really due to poor record keeping when accounting for the expenditure. “There was no real accounting as such the money was stolen at Karasabia Primary School. That sum has since been fully recovered. And there is a system in place for the former headmaster at the Maruranau Primary School to repay the missing amounts; the Ministry of Finance was notified for it to be deducted from his gratuity,” King explained.
The PS further noted that the Ministry has since implemented systems to guard against future occurrences. “There were a series of training programmes conducted with the relevant stakeholders to ensure that they are aware of how records are supposed to be kept to safeguard against any possible reoccurrence… We also do periodic checks at some schools in the areas where these issues were highlighted,” King said, adding that, the Ministry has seen some improvements since introducing the system.
In its 2016 report, the AG’s office called out education officials over the appropriation of the funds allocated for the school feeding programme.
The AG report outlined, “The absence of this key control measure can lead to the perpetration of wrongdoing, without prompt detection.”
The report noted too that there was no evidence of supervisory checks of cash books by the management committee in three of the schools.
“Supervisory checks were also absent in the stock ledgers and goods received book for six schools in Region Nine … the safeguarding of public funds was compromised. Moreover, cash was kept in the personal possession of the treasurers in eight schools. This unsatisfactory situation could lead to the perpetration of wrongdoing,” the report stated.
Oct 19, 2021Kaieteur News – Left handed hard hitter Videsh Persaud edged out Hilbert Shields and Ayube Subhan to win the annual Trophy Stall Golf Tournament on Saturday last at the Lusignan Golf Club...
Oct 19, 2021
Oct 19, 2021
Oct 18, 2021
Oct 18, 2021
Oct 18, 2021
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – On October 12, more than a dozen representatives in the US Congress sent a letter... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]