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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 9 November 2014

CLAIMS OF GHOST STUDENTS ADD TO NGARA GIRLS HEAD'S WOES

There seems to be no end to the Ngara Girls High School principal Asumpta Ndunge as fresh details of mismanagement of school funds return to haunt her.
Even before the dust settles after her school was in the list of 2013 KCSE exam leakage which led to cancellation of results, it is now emerging that the office of Ombudsman is again on her neck following allegation of abuse of office and enrolment of ghost students.
A report by the Commission of Administrative of Justice chaired by Otiende Amollo reveals that 29 students could not be accounted for hence Sh148,422 was released for non-existent students in Term One of 2014.
According to the report, in Form One, four students were unaccounted for and five in Form Two, five in Form Three and 14 in Form Four. What this means therefore is that the Sh148,422 must have been misappropriated. It is not still known if the Ombudsman will prefer charges on her or report the matter to the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission for further investigations or to the Director of Public Prosecution.
Should she be arrested, this is likely to be enjoined with another pending case almost of a similar nature. Last year, the matter finally found its way to the High Court where it was ruled that the High Court was to start hearing the case seeking the removal of the principal over corruption allegations.
High Court judge Justice Isaac Lenaola gave the school’s Parents and Teachers Association members the greenlight to serve the suit papers on Ndunge, Education ministry PS and the Teachers Service Commission secretary.
According to the court papers, the PTA members accused Ndunge of corruption, nepotism and poor managerial skills. The PTA members led by Lameck Abrahams also want the principal to reimburse money allegedly siphoned from the school and to disband the school’s board and constitute a new one.
In June last year, she ran into trouble when the Industrial Court ordered contempt of court charges against Ndunge. She was in the risk of being committed to jail for a period of six months for allegedly disobeying court orders in a civil suit against her and the board of governors.
Justice James Rika fixed further hearing of the case after Ndunge denied having disobeyed the court orders. She had been summoned to appear in court to show cause why she should not be jailed for contempt of court. Munyasya denied having threatened to terminate the services of over 20 school workers who have sued her and the board. The judge had earlier issued orders restraining Ndunge and the board from harassing, intimidating and threatening to terminate the claimants’ employment.
It is further claimed that Ndunge reinstated some suppliers who had been blacklisted by the former board and falsified the number of students the school has been catering for on subsidy programme as well as claims of nepotism and tribalism in employment of nonteaching staff.
The parents went to court after a special report revealed financial mismanagement by the school principal. In a letter dated January 12 2012 addressed to Education secretary George Godia and signed by PTA chairman Lameck Abrahams and other PTA members, it was alleged Ndunge, who has been at the helm for five years now is running down the institution.
At one time, angry parents and a section of PTA members stormed the school demanding her removal. The matter is now with the TSC and Education ministry.
The principal according to the report sneaked back suppliers who had been blacklisted by the board and gave them tenders. One such company is Fina Chemicals.
In some cases, it is noted that she instructs Fina to quote low prices during tendering and after they are awarded the tender, they raise the tender sum by more than 50pc.
The tender had been originally awarded to School Equipment Centre but Ndunge allegedly cancelled the tender and secret1y gave it to Fina Chemicals. Another tender for supply of stationery was awarded to Dolphin Stationers and Gika Stationers but she allegedly reversed it to favour Fina Chemicals yet Fina had been blacklisted for supplying poor quality chemicals.
The report claims that a tender for fuel and lubricants was awarded to Haki Traders to supply fuel for the school bus and school van but the principal allegedly also fuels her private car using the school’s LPO (2472) of June 16 2011 and another vehicle KBD 734 W and KBG432F were also allegedly fueled using the school’s money on October 25 2011.
A tender for water piping in the school was single-handedly awarded to Diverse Construction owned by a teacher by name Boniface Mulonzi and no tendering was done and was paid Sh1.3m, it is claimed. The report reveals that the same company was again awarded a Sh1.5 tender to fix tiles at the entrance of the school.
A tender for construction of a new dormitory was awarded and the cost of putting up the foundation was put at Sh5m and no one knows how it shot up to Sh6.9m. It is also interesting to note that the principal took and signed herself a petty cash of Sh4200 to buy a padlock for her office. According to records, the petty cash voucher is no 5 and is dated June 24 2009.
Another tender for medical supplies was awarded to Transchem Pharmaceuticals to supply medicine for use in the school’s sanatorium but the principal uses the same company to order for her own personal medicine as contained in order book No 053, LPO N02657 dated April 13 2011, the report says. The medicine ordered was for treatment of diabetes.
Tender for supply of eggs was awarded to Kamkam Eggs Supply but was cancelled midway and awarded to one BOG member by name Lawrence Kung’u and this can be verified from the kitchen order book, the report further has it.
There is also need to investigate the manner in which money collected from University of Nairobi parallel students who use school facilities during holidays, parents say. It is claimed she only pays Sh1,500 to workers, deposits some in the school accounts then pockets the rest.
Another scam the audit has revealed is a trip parents offered to teachers for a retreat in Mombasa after they performed well in 2010 KCSE. The board approved Sh1m for the trip and to date no records of how that money was spent has been availed to either BOG or PTA. It is said she used part of the money for her return air ticket to Mombasa, bought another ticket for her son and a friend to her son who joined the teachers in Mombasa a day later. She is also accused of lobbying a firm Saniki Farm to supply eggs to Buruburu Girls, Nembu Girls and Upper Hill. The farm is her private investments.