Nine primary school students stole $1.8m from feeding programme

Nine primary school students in Region 9 stole nearly two million dollars from their School’s feeding programme according to the Auditor General’s 2016 Report.

According to report laid in Parliament two weeks ago, the students from the Primary School stole the sum of $1.802 million in 2017.

“At the time of reporting in September 2017, $700,000 was repaid leaving the sum of $1.102M to be recovered. The parents of the students had entered into an agreement to repay the amount stolen on a monthly basis commencing from April 2017,” it explains.  The Ministry also noted that the matter is presently engaging the attention the court.

The sum of $2.105 billion was allocated for Dietary needs under the Ministry of Education. According to the Appropriation Account, amounts totalling $1.668 billion were expended as at 31 December 2016. Including $600.312M which were expended on the provision of hot meals to 21,379 students of Nursery and Primary Schools.

It further related that an audit inspection carried out on the records maintained by two schools in Region №. 9 revealed the theft along with a $1.524 million misappropriation by a former Head Master in 2012. $230,200 has since been recovered from the Headmaster leaving an amount totalling $1.294M still to be recovered.

The Education Ministry has noted that the Ministry of Finance has been informed of the matter with the former Head Master and action has been taken to have deductions made from the officer’s gratuity.

Additionally for all the schools visited the receipts and payments cash books were not properly written up and maintained; there was a lack of segregation of duties in relation to the storekeeping procedures; Stock Ledgers and Goods Received Books were not properly written up and maintained; there was no evidence of the records being checked by any member of the Management Committee of the school; meetings were not held by the Management Committee; the Treasurers kept unspent balances in their personal possession; and the Bank Accounts were not reconciled for the period under review.

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