Former Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati has denied allegations of misappropriation of county funds flagged in a recent audit conducted by Governor Kenneth Lusaka’s administration.
Lusaka had in a statement on Thursday, November 6, claimed that some Ksh19 million may have been lost to ghost students enrolled in the county’s Education Scholarship Programme during Wangamati’s five-year tenure.
According to Lusaka, a task force unveiled on September 19 to audit the Scholarship Fund established shocking cases of 524 ghost students, overpayments to schools and cases of one recipient receiving multiple allocations.
Lusaka also said that teams tasked with auditing the status of the county’s human resources and eligibility of pending bills had flagged massive irregularities.
But in a statement on Monday, Wangamati dismissed the claims further accusing Lusaka, who made a return to the county in the August polls after losing to the former in the 2017 elections, of a political witch hunt.
Wangamati, while denying fraudulent dealings in the Scholarship Fund, termed claims of ghost students as an outrageous allegation.
He said the cases Lusaka’s team referred to as “ghost students” were selected to schools by the Ministry of Education.
The task force had alleged that hundreds of beneficiaries could not be traced to schools where the county says they were admitted. Some of the schools include Chebukaka Girls Secondary School, Chesamisi Boys and Kibuk Girls High School.
In its report, the task force said the use of cheque payments instead of the recommended IFMIS system was intentional, alluding that it created an avenue for abuse of the scholarship program.
In response, Wangamati said: “If the finding was not a hurried afterthought, the task force would have established that all the cases they refer to as ‘ghost students’ were in fact selected to those specific schools by the Ministry of Education’s Nemis system.”
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