Ministry Diverts $500k BEAM Funds To Buy Groceries For Its Staff

Ministry Diverts $500k BEAM Funds To Buy Groceries For Its Staff
Published: 2016 June 27 16:51:58 (1849 Views)
The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare is facing public fund misappropriation after it has been revealed that almost $500 000 meant for the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) was diverted to buy food hampers for officials at a time Government is struggling to clear the backlog in tuition and examination fees for disadvantaged pupils.

In her December 31, 2015 report, Auditor-General Mildred Chiri noted that Treasury, through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, released $7 million to the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare for BEAM, but half a million dollars was diverted to buy food hampers for staff.

The welfare ministry has been failing to pay fees for thousands of vulnerable children. It owes schools about $27 million.

“During the year under review, Treasury released $7 million for the programme (BEAM). Despite arrears amounting to $39 000 as at December 31, 2015, the ministry used $419 968 to meet expenditure not related to BEAM objectives. The risk is that BEAM may fail to meet its objectives if its resources are utilised for expenditure other than advancing the education of the disadvantaged,” reads Ms Chiri’s report.

In its response, the Ministry admitted diverting the money but appeared to dispute the figure.

“It is acknowledged that a total of $239 250 was used to finance staff hampers as per ministry policy and Secretary’s approval. Ideally, this cost should have been met from institutional provisions but unfortunately Treasury did not release the requisite funding over the period. This payment was done using the 10 percent amount,” reads the response from the Ministry.

But Chiri dismissed the claims of 10 percent saying it was a far-fetched assertion.

BEAM is based on a policy and legal framework that is designed to provide quality education to children, including specific policies aimed at supporting orphans and vulnerable children.

In 2014 representatives of teachers’ unions said BEAM was largely benefiting children from well-to-do families at the expense of the vulnerable. The unions urged Government to review Beam selection criteria as the limited resources were not always going to the most deserving cases.



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