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 Public Accounts Committee of Parliament has tasked the education ministry to explain the irregular transfer of 2.1 billion Shillings to private universities.
The money was allegedly transferred to six private universities in the financial year 2015-2016. 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 fulfillment of presidential pledges to the institutions.
President Yoweri Museveni pledged to finance the training of 50 science teachers at Kisubi Brothers University College each year for five years. The pledge to Kisubi Brothers University College was first effected in the financial year 2011-2012. During the year, the Ministry of Education provided 12 million Shillings per student totaling to an allocation of 600 million Shillings.
Ndejje University was promised a total funding of 500 million Shillings for support of science through provision of teaching and learning instructional and lab materials, while Nkumba University was promised the same amount to cover the completion of level five of its main library.
The other beneficiary mountains of the moon was promised 500 million Shillings to cover the cost of constructing the science laboratory at its campus in Fort Portal and over 960 million Shillings was to be extended to Bishop Stuart University to cater for construction works on basic industrial laboratories.
The anomaly was detected by the Auditor General John Muwanga who noted that while the universities had received part of the pledged funds, the transfers from the Ministry of Education 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 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 go into paying presidential pledges, yet parliament allocates funds to the Office of the President to meet the same.
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The Ministry acknowledged the absence of an MOU with the universities but said that these have since been put in place. Alex Kakooza, the ministry's Permanent Secretary asked PAC for more time to avail letters demanding private institutions for accountability.
The Director Higher Education Robert Oceng told the committee that so far Nkumba and Ndejje Universities have availed accountability for the funds allocated to them.