Head teachers interdicted over unaccounted funds
Posted Saturday, November 2 2013 at 02:00
KAMPALA- The government has interdicted 25 head teachers over failure to refund unspent funds for construction works at their schools, Saturday Monitor can reveal
The World Bank funds were wired to the schools accounts to facilitate construction of classrooms, libraries, multipurpose science rooms, teachers’ houses and sanitation and hygiene facilities, but the head teachers allegedly failed to oversee the construction works which led to contractors abandoning the sites. This prompted the ministry of Education to cancel their contracts.
Speaking to Saturday Monitor, Mr Francis Agula, the commissioner secondary education, said the ministry took the decision to interdict the teachers as a last resort after the latter allegedly failed to offer explanations in two months.
“We wrote to all those head teachers a couple of months ago directing them to return the money, but none of them has complied. It appears like they diverted the money to other things and cannot give accountability,” he said.
The most affected schools are in western Uganda where 10 head teachers appeared on the list of those interdicted. According to Mr Agula, at least Shs1.5 billion is still stuck on the schools accounts with some holding between Shs6 million to Shs300 million.
“We simply hear that board of governors in some schools have instructed them to use the money to buy food while others have a negative mentality that we [the ministry] want to eat it. But if we were to eat it we couldn’t have it sent it to them,” he added.
This is the second time this year school heads are failing to account for construction funds. A total of 63 head teachers faced a similar fate early this year and, although some later gave accountability and the interdiction lifted, the school governing bodies are still reluctant to receive them.
According to Mr Agula, the ministry has already handed names of head teachers who earlier misappropriated funds to Interpol after failing to trace them.
“Let them [head teachers] know that this is going to leave a bad mark at their back even if they reimburse it now. No one can trust them anymore,” he said.
Statistics from the ministry indicate that there are at least 1.050 government-aided secondary schools across the country with 25,000 teachers on pay roll.
Every year, government transfers head teachers who have overstayed in the schools and can longer perform.
What is at stake
According to Mr Agula, the interdicted head teachers will be getting half pay and have six months to appeal. Those who return the money will be reinstated while those who are defiant will have their names given to Interpol.