Ministry of Finance claims K356 million misused in Ministry of Education between 2022 and 2023


An internal audit conducted by the Ministry of Finance and National Planning has revealed that a total sum of K356,040,228.12 was abused between January 2022 to June, 2023 under the Ministry of Education.

Secretary to the Treasury, Felix Nkulukusa, said the review was in form of an internal audit undertaken by the Internal Audit Division and the exercise covered the period January 1, 2022 to June 1, 2023.

Nkulukusa in a statement issued in Lusaka on Thursday, stated that the audit was conducted at three schools per district in six selected districts in each province.

He said according to the data submitted at the time of review, the Ministry of education had a total of 12,275 schools and a total of K2,145,476,481.29 was funded to all schools during the period January 1, 2022 to June, 30, 2023.

“If the same percentages were to be applied on the total funding to the total number of schools, it could be concluded that a sum of K356,040,228.12 was abused while K1,676,289,577.16 was not managed in line with the laid down standards,” Nkulukusa said.

He added that the Ministry recently conducted a review of the utilisation of school grants in a sample of 182 schools, countrywide and the schools were funded a total of K80,485,201.96 for the period under review.

Nkulukusa highlighted that of these funds, findings with elements of abuse amounted to K13,356,459.47 while those relating to management failure totaled K62,884,168.78. This accounted for 17 percent and 78 percent of the total funding respectively.

“During the audit, several weaknesses were observed such as irregular transfer of funds, questionable expenditure, irregular drawing of imprest and cash and irregular payment of allowances,” he stated.

He said other weaknesses were irregular procurements above head teacher’s authorisation limit, splitting of tenders/procurement to avoid authorisation thresholds.

Nkulukusa noted some administrative lapses such as high administrative costs to attend called-up meetings, failure to account for funds and misapplication of funds.

“Others are unapproved and unauthorized expenditure, inadequately supported payments, missing payment vouchers, unaccounted for revenue/unbanked revenue and unaccounted for stores/lack of disposal details,” he stated.

Nkulukusa said it was also established that there was payment of wages to general workers below the statutory minimum wage, unretired imprest and lack of activity reports and measures to address the highlighted anomalies

He directed that the movement of school grants to Provincial Education Offices, District Education Boards and other entities without authority should stop, with immediate effect.

“Where school grants have been abused and/or responsible officers have failed to follow laid down procedures, the Ministry is expected to take remedial action,” Nkulukusa advised.

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He stated that this was as prescribed by the Public Finance Management Act no. 1 of 2018 and the disciplinary code and procedures for handling offences in the public sector and local government service.

Nkulukusa said the Ministry of Education was expected to ensure that officers responsible for unaccounted for school grants were surcharged and all unaccounted-for funds should be recovered.

He cautioned public officials who were charged with the responsibility of managing public funds to exercise prudence and comply with the relevant laws, regulations and guidelines.

“Where responsible officers are in doubt of the appropriate procedure to follow or where there are no clear guidelines of how particular financial matters should be handled, guidance should be sought from the Directorate of Finance,” Nkulukusa advised.

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