Tardiness responsible for uniform voucher fraud claim

- Education Ministry

Tardiness is said to be responsible for claims made regarding school uniform voucher fraud at the Matthews Ridge Nursery School.

This is according to a statement from the Ministry of Education (MoE), which was issued in response to a June 8th Stabroek News report.

In the report, it was alleged that the signatures of several parents of students at the Matthews Ridge Nursery School had been forged and that their National Identification card numbers were utilised to uplift two years of monies allocated for the sewing of school uniforms for their children

However, the MoE, in its statement noted that an investigation had been launched through the office of the Regional Education Officer, during which the Head Teacher of the school was able to produce evidence of payments of Uniform Allowance.

“Based on investigations conducted, the Head Teacher of Pakera Nursery School has produced evidence of payments of Uniform Allowance. Parents that received the allowance either signed or placed their thumbprint. The unpaid sum was refunded to the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs,” the statement said

“The only issue of concern was that there was evidence of tardy disbursement of uniform allowance. The Head teacher was cautioned to ensure that there was more efficient disbursement of the monies,” it further read.

Additionally, recommendations have been made by the office of the Regional Education Officer to have monies handed over to the Parent-Teacher Associations of the respective schools, in keeping with the Ministry of Education’s regulation of school finances, and that personnel from the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs or the Community Development Officers should effect disbursement.

Like the uniform vouchers, which are usually distributed by the Ministry of Education at the end of each school year, parents in the hinterland would usually benefit from the distribution of uniform material and some financial assistance for the sewing of the uniforms.

Stabroek News had reported that several parents were unaware that in addition to collecting uniform material, they were to also receive $1,000 in cash, to be used for the sewing of the school uniform.

However, according to a concerned resident who had contacted the newspaper, some parents only became aware of the benefit during a visit by the Community Development Officer, who inquired of parents whether they had collected their monies.

It was only then that parents began to question the process and the school’s record book was requested. Subsequently, it was discovered that the signatures had allegedly been forged and the relevant National Identification numbers recorded, as though the parents had collected the monies.

Stabroek News was further informed that later that afternoon an official from the said school, visited the parents, who had alleged that their signatures had been forged, and distributed monies dating back to 2015 which would have been allocated for this specific purpose.

It was explained that an official complaint had been lodged with the District Community Development Officer, who subsequently reported the matter to the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs and the Ministry of Education.

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