District officials run ghost school for 3 years, arrested
Police in Butebo arrested five district officials on the orders of the county commissioner (RDC), Mr. Mwida Kalikwani, over allegations of operating a defunct Kanigima High School for three years.
Those arrested include the county planner, Ms. Jacinta Ikesa, district school inspector Josephine Caña, internal auditors Theopista Akiah and Mr. Bernard Oku, and Mr. Charles Vesunire, an accountant in the education department.
The group was arrested at the RDC office, from where they attended a meeting attended by district police commander Mr Henry Kisubi.
“I ordered the arrest of district officials after we unearthed a scam about them running a ghost school that had been receiving Shs360m grants for the past three years, which caused a huge loss of government finances,” Mr Calicwani said last Friday.
Mr. Kalikwani instructed the police to ensure that the district chief financial officer, Mr Samson Kouwa Mutekanga, and the chief administrative officer, Mr. Qasim Kutosi, who were absent from the meeting, recorded the statements.
“We're talking about a lost Shs300m, but that doesn't include money paid to ghost teachers and the school principal, who we suspect are on a paycheck and receive a monthly salary,” he said.
Mr Kisubi said the suspects were being detained at the Butebo police station on charges related to forgery of documents and loss of public funds.
Kanigima High School, according to documents addressed by this reporter, is registered by the Ministry of Education and Sports with a set of 250 students.
The district has a Kanigima seed school in lucone village, Kanigim city council, while ghost school [Kanigima Secondary] is located in the village of Kitoi-Kavonyo, Kanigima. Butebo has only five high schools.
Mr Gilbert Omoghiti, the council speaker, said the ghost school has been receiving funding for the past three years.
Suspects speak out
During the brief meeting, Ms Ikesa denied involvement in the dubious actions, saying her job was not to plan departments, adding that she did not know the school and where it was located.
Ms Kanyi said she went to Kanigima and found that the school mentioned did not exist. But when asked by the RDC if she made any written notice to the district education officer after setting up the ghost school, she said she hadn't made any official reports.
Mr Vasunire said that while grants for said school were coming in, they were running a hybrid system that made it difficult to establish the distribution of money and the intended purpose.
“All last year, since we worked on the hybrid system, the CFO and the employee have guaranteed money to the general fund [and] I couldn't know if there was money or not,” he said.