A controversy has arisen over the Sh297 million Nairobi County Bursary Fund after the money was banked in the wrong account.
Questions are being asked how, and by whom, the money was wired to an account held by Maryland University in Australia, and why it remained in the account for over a month before the error was detected.
“People took the money and deposited it in Maryland’s account for over a month before the money came. So we want to know who sent the money there and for what, and who returned the money on June 4,” said Minority Whip Peter Imwatok on Tuesday as he moved a motion asking for an explanation for the mix-up.
Mr Imwatok revealed that the account was opened by the Australian university to channel funds for the construction of Dandora Primary School.
“When they were doing the school, they gave a condition that they would open an account with the county and send their donations directly to the account. It is not an exchequer account but was primarily for that project,” he said.
Under the fund, each of the 85 wards in the Nairobi was supposed to get 700 bursaries, which comes to 59, 500. Each bursary was worth Sh5, 000, bringing the total amount to Sh297,500,000.
The MCAs complained that the hitch has led to delays in disbursing the bursary funds, adding that no explanation has been given by the relevant House committee.
Most of the wards claimed that they received bursary forms in December last year and the bursaries were supposed to be given by January, but that has not been done, putting the education of over 50,000 students in the capital city at risk.
Education committee chairperson Ms Millicent Mugadi admitted that the money went to the foreign account but said that every mishap had been corrected and the processing of the cheques was underway. She said that 20, 000 cheques have been printed and given to acting Finance chief officer Mr Ekaya Alumasi.
“The bank received the money on Monday and is currently printing 10, 000 cheques daily and by the end of this week, all the cheques will be ready,” said Ms Mugadi, the Ziwani MCA.
She explained that the delay had been occasioned by typographical errors in the cheques like amounts in figures and words not tallying, errors in names of schools by staff keying in the details and hitches at the office of the Controller of Budget.
But her explanation was shot down by Umoja II Ward MCA Joseph Ndonji who wondered why the same office had dispatched money to other counties except Nairobi.
“Same staff have been doing the work for the past five years and have not been making the mistakes so that is a lame excuse. Moreover, all counties have been given out their money except for Nairobi yet we are also being served by the same office,” said Mr Ndonji.