The Auditor General’s Report 2017 stated that Limkokwing University received overpayment of Le2.6 billion (Le2,632,139,660) from the Ministry of Education for the payments of fees for 1,200 sponsored students. According to the auditors, the Ministry received invoice for fees of Le9.8 billion (Le9, 877,400,000), dated 27th October, 2016 for the 1st cohort of 1,200 government sponsored students (i.e. for 600 students) studying at the University for the first academic year – 2016/2017. From the review of first installment payment cost summary, it was observed that government paid Le10bn which resulted in an overpayment of Le122, 600,000. A further review of the University’s installment payment cost summary revealed that a balance 50 percent owed by government amounted to Le9,670,570,760 and the overpayment of Le122,600,000 on the first payment was set-off against this amount which resulted in a revised unpaid fees of Le9,547,970,760. From the review of the Ministry’s payment analysis for the balance 50 percent payments done by the former Acting Principal Accountant, it was observed that the Ministry paid Le12,180,110,420 to the University, resulting in an overpayment of Le2,632,139,660 (Le12,180,110,420 – Le9,547,970,760) to the University. The Committee’s discussions with officials of the Ministry revealed that the depreciating value of the Leones resulted in the overpayment in order to get the same amount as stated in the MOU.
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They found out that the Ministry’s records management system was very poor and as a result, the Permanent Secretary relied on documents and other information provided by the University and the MOU was not provided to the auditors at the time of audit, but both the invoice and the MOU were submitted to the Committee for inspection. The Committee expressed dismay over the Ministry’s nonchalant attitude towards putting in place proper records management system and therefore advised the Permanent Secretary to ensure that accountable documents are properly filed for reference purposes. The Committee observed from the review of the AG’s Report that payments totaling Le76, 212,000,000 were made during 2017. The auditors however found it strange to note that the supporting documents attached to the payment vouchers were payroll vouchers from these institutions instead of the list of enrolled students, courses offered, fees charged and computation of government obligations. The Permanent Secretary stated that the Official who was in charge of that particular issue, and who could have been the right person to respond to the query, passed away. The Committee rejected the excuse, pointing out that the death of an official should not affect the smooth functioning of the Ministry. The Committee asked the PS and Finance Director to provide the payments schedule to the auditors before the conclusion of the 2018 audit exercise or face the wrath of the Committee. The Committee further encouraged the Director of Educational Programmes and Services to ensure that the lists of enrolled students for the respective academic years, including courses offered and fees structured are obtained from the concerned tertiary institutions.
By Zainab Iyamide Joaque
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