A huge chunk of the recently released Siaya county government bursary may be benefiting ghost students, Central Alego member of the County Assembly, Leonard Oriaro has said.
Raising the red flag, Oriaro said the Siaya county government stands to lose millions of shillings meant to benefit bright but needy students should its administration fail to harmonise the list of purported beneficiaries to the ones held by the 30 wards.
He was speaking Tuesday at Pap Boro primary school grounds during a public participation cum site hand over to the contractor who will build a Sh4.4 million early childhood development centre.
Oriaro said that hundreds of students who were supposed to benefit from the bursary have been locked out through what appears to be a careful scheme that locked out those who sat for the form four examinations and completed college last year.
“We know that the bursary which was released two weeks ago was for the 2019/2020 financial year and it was supposed to cater for those who were in school last year,” he said adding that it was appalling that the needy students who sat for examinations in 2019 have had their certificates detained for non-payment of fees despite the county government releasing bursary.
The MCA said the information given that the money was for those in form four this year was wrong as those purporting to be beneficiaries were in form three last year when the list was compiled.
“All bursary applications are done by November after which the applications are forwarded to the education office for processing. This means that the just released bursary is for the 2019/2020 financial year and must cater for the beneficiaries who were in form four or college finalists last year,” he said.
Oriaro urged governor Cornel Rasanga to come out and clear the air over the stalemate that has seen destitute children denied certificates, adding that the public was yet to forget the 2018 / 2019 bursary debacle when the county lost Sh74 million shillings that was yet to be accounted for.
“Former Education County Executive Committee member Mary Omondi confirmed that over Sh74 million bursary money could not be accounted for. Even to date, we are still concerned as MCAs on the whereabouts of this money,” he said.
Oriaro said that nobody would be allowed to pilfer public funds meant to benefit the less fortunate and called on the governor to crack the whip and demand for more accountability from his officers.
Two weeks ago, governor Rasanga released a Sh30, 785, 000 bursary, saying that the money would benefit form four and tertiary education students who have reported back to the schools.
He said that his government would release another batch of bursary in January next year to cater for students who were yet to resume classes because of the Covid 19.
The governor ordered the list of the beneficiaries to be pinned in all public notice boards from the ward level to enable the public to scrutinise them.
“I urge the public to bring to the attention of my office any possible incident of a beneficiary who falls below the criteria for qualification,” he said.
By Philip Onyango