MPs question funding to private universities

Wednesday August 16 2017
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The main building at Ndejje University. The university is one of the institutions that benefitted from the Shs2.1 billion that was transfered to several private universities.

The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament has tasked Education ministry officials to explain the irregular transfer of Shs2.1 billion to private universities.
The money was allegedly transferred to six private universities in the 2015-2016 financial year.
The beneficiaries include Kisubi Brothers University College (912 million), Bishop Stuart University (380 million), Kumi University (300 million), Nkumba University (300 million), Mountains of the Moon University (150 million) and Ndejje University (150 million).
The allocation was allegedly in fulfilment of presidential pledges. In one of the pledges made in 2010, President Yoweri Museveni pledged to finance the training of 50 science teachers at Kisubi Brothers University College each year for five years.
The maiden implementation of the pledge was in the 2011-2021 financial year. During the year, the Ministry of Education provided Shs12 million per student totalling to Shs600 million.
The anomaly was detected by the Auditor General, Mr John Muwanga who said the transfers lacked detailed information regarding the status of implementation.
The audit also revealed that the transfers were made without putting in place mechanisms for accountability and that the Ministry of education issued the money without drawing any agreement with the beneficiaries.
PAC Vice Chairperson, Mr Gerald Karuhanga questioned how the Ministry would commit huge sums of money to private universities, yet public universities continue to grapple with funding shortfalls. He also questioned why the Education ministry budget should be used to implement presidential pledges, yet parliament allocates funds to the Office of the President to meet the same.
The Ministry officials acknowledged the absence of a Memorandum of Understanding with the universities that benefited adding that such requirements have since been put in place.
Mr Alex Kakooza, the ministry's Permanent Secretary asked PAC for more time to avail letters demanding private institutions for accountability.
The Director Higher Education, Mr Robert Oceng told the committee that so far, Nkumba and Ndejje universities have availed accountability for the funds allocated to them.

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