Allegation. Zombo District leaders and former students of St Aloysius College Nyapea say Shs3.6 billion secured by government to renovate the school was misappropriated, writes Felix Warrom Okello
St Aloysius College Nyapea, once an academic giant in northern Uganda, is now a shadow of its former self.
Many buildings in the school are yearning for paint, are dilapidated, and pose a risk of collapsing on the occupants.
The dormitories’ window panes broke and they were never replaced, exposing students to cold wind at night and their property get drenched during downpour.
The sorry state is not reflected on the buildings alone. The enrolment, too, is the lowest ever. The school that in 2002 had 600 students, now has only 150.
Yet in the 2013/2014 financial year, the government secured at least Shs3.6 billion from the African Development Bank to renovate the school, install new structures and equip it with computers. But Zombo District leaders and former students of the school allege it was misappropriated.
It is upon this that St Aloysius College Nyapea Old Boys Association recently petitioned the President over the issue, saying there was no value for money in the project.
President Museveni has reportedly ordered investigations into the alleged misuse of the Shs3.6 billion.
Brig Mike Kisame, an aide of the President, said Mr Museveni was concerned about the issues raised.
“The President wants a report on Nyapea ADB4 projects in order to know what exactly happened,” he said.
However, in a recent fact-finding meeting held at the college with a team from the State House, Ministry of Education, district leaders, the Bishop of Nebbi Catholic Diocese and the old boys, the acting under-secretary in the Ministry of Education, Mr Samuel Kakole, said whatever was done with the money was in line with the project scope.
According to Kakole, no money was swindled, citing lack of information sharing as the cause of the doubts.
The construction of the classroom and library blocks was done by Palcon and Tech Consultants.
The project scope, among other things, was not disclosed to the different stakeholders, right from the inception of the project in 2013, creating suspicion.
The Ministry of Education that controlled the project had no supporting documents, with Mr Kakole claiming that the documents were locked up in a store.
The Inspector General of Government is investigating the issue.
However, the Old Boys association chaired by Dr Amos Nyathirombo insists that the money was tampered with.
“Even the supply of computers has not been done to the expectation. We, therefore, demand that the measurement sheet and other documents be availed to our team of engineers led by Mr Fred Pican Cwinya-ai for verification,” he said.
During a tour of the work done under the project after the meeting, members were disappointed with what the old boys termed as shoddy and irresponsible output.
The chairman of Zombo District, Mr John Orwiny, said the consultant should be arrested if he fails to attend the next meeting.
“We have always wanted to meet the contractor but he has been dodgy yet we need accountability of how the billions of money sunk here has been used,” he said.
Mr Orwiny commended the old boys for their passion for the school and called upon the stakeholders to come up with workable solutions for the betterment of the college.
St Aloysius College Nyapea was four years ago chosen by the government as one of the 42 traditional schools across the country to benefit from African Development Bank-funded project.
The college was started in 1937 in Gulu District by Sacred Heart Brothers from USA and later transferred to Nyapea in Zombo District.
State of school
- Student population drops from 600 to 150.
- No teacher of English language in 6 years.
- Football, volley ball pitches converted to gardens.
- Latrines filled, school truck, tractors broke down.
- Questions over use of ADF funds for renovation.