Officers working for the Department of Tertiary Education and Financing (DTEF) in the Ministry of Education Skills and Development (MoSED) have reportedly been put under surveillance by security personnel after the department instituted an internal audit to investigate allegations of fraud, nepotism and corruption in the awarding of scholarships for tertiary education financing.
Sunday Standard is informed that DTEF is conducting a departmental audit to investigate fraud and corruption that has led to the department losing millions of Pula. DTEF officials are said to be under the surveillance radar of officers from the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC). It is understood that close to P10 million went missing at DTEF due to rampant corruption, fraud and nepotism. Investigations have revealed that a certain official within the Department allegedly pocketed about P7 million from individual students who were illegally receiving their monthly allowances. Government was fleeced of millions as it continued paying allowances to dozens of students who had failed and discontinued from various tertiary institutions across the country. The investigations indicate that the department continued paying the ‘ghost’ students their monthly P1400, 20 even though they were no longer in school.
It is also understood that on various occasions, some DTEF officials approached students who had discontinued from their tertiary education studies and set up an arrangement through which the students were not removed from the government payroll, and continued to receive their allowances even though they were no longer in school.
In return the students would surrender a certain portion of their P1400, 20 monthly allowances to the DTEF officials.
When the corruption scam was discovered, DCEC ordered the Ministry of Education and Skills Development to carry out an internal audit that also targeted the DTEF. Reports indicates that officers are scurrying to cover their tracks as the audit is expected to open a can of worms and unravel the rot at the Ministry of Education and expose corruption that has been going-on for years.
The Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Education and Skills Development, Master Goya confirmed in an interview with Sunday Standard that there is an ongoing audit at DTEF.
“It is true that there is an internal audit within DTEF which is expected to improve our data base so that it becomes more accurate,” Goya said.
He indicated that once the audit is complete, the Ministry will be able to give accurate answers.
“I am not quite sure when the audit will be complete, that will depend on the complexity of the exercise but I think it will not take such a long time,” said Goya.
When asked whether DCEC is investigating DTEF, he replied: “That is news to me.”
He however emphasized that his Ministry does not in a way condone corruption.
“But if it happens that there are those individuals that are engaged in corrupt activities they will be dealt with accordingly.”
A number of students, known to this publication, who have discontinued their studies and are still getting their monthly allowances, confirmed to this publication that they have such arrangements with DTEF officers.
“It is true that we are still getting our monthly allowances even though we have discontinued from our studies,” said one of the students.
They also claimed that there are certain officials that they connive with and to set up such arrangements. They further revealed that once their bank accounts have been credited, they share a certain amount of money with the DTEF officials, whom they pay anything between P500 and P600.
“This has been going on for some time, the officials’ sweet talk us and it is hard to resist the temptation,” said another student.