The Masindi Education Trust Fund, launched last year to support students from disadvantaged families, has suffered a major setback with the resignation of two of its board members.
Kanaginagi Ateenyi, the former Masindi Secretary for Finance and Robinah Katusiime, the female district councilor representing people with disabilities, announced their resignation yesterday. They told a meeting of the district council that the education trust fund was fraught with corruption and that they were no longer interested in working with people who mismanaged the fund.
Kanaginagi Ateenyi claimed that 19 million shillings had been collected to fund bursaries for needy students. However there is only 6.7 million shillings on the trust fund account currently and the rest of the money is unaccounted for.
Robinah Katusabe told the council that the trust fund bursaries did not go to the intended students, but were diverted to paying big salaries and motorcycles for the fund workers.
These claims did not go down well with the Masindi LC5 chairperson Steven Birija. Birija accused Kanaginagi of misinforming the council and inflating the number of beneficiaries that are supported by the trust fund. He said the former finance secretary was not being truthful about his own activities on the board of the fund.
In March, an investigation by the Inspectorate of Government found Kanaginagi Ateenyi liable for the abusing the education trust fund. It found that he enrolled his children and dependants on the scheme, listing them as the children of his driver.
The IGG recommended that Kanaginagi must refund the money and face disciplinary action.
In addition, the IGG found out that the needy students' scheme had neither guidelines nor a defined selection process, denying the tax payer value for money.
The Masindi Education Trust Fund was established last year to enhance education of the poor in the district. Civil servants voluntarily contribute 1,000 shillings to the fund.