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Exposed: Nyali Primary School loses Sh1.5 million to Ghost workers’

John Kombo Nyali Principal (centre in grey shirt)

“Corruption and financial scandals are not a new phenomenon at Nyali School situated along the Links road in the county of Mombasa. Sadly, since the revelation of the School bus scandal that was meant to rob the school over Sh600, 000 and several other scandals that were either known or unknown, the school has been plunged into management crisis with the Board of Management (BoM) refusing to allow an independent financial Audits to prove the fears of the parents. The head teacher (Mr. John Kombo) who has over a decade used the school as an ATM Machine to enrich himself and even had the audacity to open his own school “Paramount” just a few meters from Nyali School to compete with Nyali, has vowed not exit the school and promised to use all what it takes to cling on his ATM Machine. Ironically, he has a huge backing of the executive side of the BoM some of whom are his allies at Paramount School.

During the 2018-19 turbulence times in the school where scandals over scandals were revealed, parents demanded the stepping aside of the BoM members and sacking of Mr. Kombo to allow for a new beginning. Their demands were however, shelved off by the BoM causing the school to be thrown into attacking and counter-attacking between parents and the BoM/Mr. Kombo. Thanks to God for the COVID-19 pandemic, a cloud of calmness was experienced as both parents and the School management retreated and concentrated to make a living after being hardly hit with the effects of the pandemic.

However, since the school reopened, parents have been very vigilant on any corruption cases in the school. This forced Mr. Kombo and his apprentices to innovate smarter ways of fleecing the school without the knowledge of the watchful parents.

First came the Water-tap mega scandal scare. A Sh1,250,000 water tap project that was proposed to cater for Pupil’s Hand-washing and ablution area. This deal was however immediately leaked to parents who immediately became furious and objected the project. It is disheartening to note that similar hand-washing projects had been installed by some nearby schools at a cost of less than Sh20,000.

Sadly, the procurement Committee of the BoM knew nothing about the water tap project. They were only shared the quotations for endorsing the lowest bidder in a WhatsApp message, clearly violating the set procedures of procuring services at the school. This scandal brought a lot of heat within the BoM with majority of the board members agreeing with parents that the school has been over many years mismanaged.

The procurement committee and its head immediately RESIGNED and told Mr. Kombo and his allies to run the procuring processes. As it stands, all procuring processes are now done by Mr. Kombo and his allies.

Worst was yet to come though. After the withdrawal of Obiria & Co Auditors from undertaking the Financial audits of the school Financial books, NO Auditor dared to take up the task citing the volatile environment and the interference by the BoM in the exercise. The school stayed for two (2) years without any external Audits being conducted. At last, Yusuf J M & Co Auditors took up the task. The Auditors did a commendable job and exposed all the dirt the school has been doing and confirming the fears of parents. Among the dirt exposed by the Auditors was payment of Ghost workers in the last two (2) years.

The school is believed to have around Fifty-five (55) teachers and subordinate staff, however, the report has indicated that the school had been paying over sixty (60) staff over a period of two years. In the process Sh1.5 Million has been lost. The report was shared to the executive members of the board but it failed to comment on the matter until recently when the Auditor asked for the finalization of the report so as to get paid. It is believed these ghost workers may belong to Paramount but somehow get paid using Nyali accounts.

From Friday 2nd July to Monday 5th July the Auditor has been locked in closed meeting with the executive side of the Board in an unknown agenda. At some point Mr. Kombo was seen storming out of the meeting room while in tears. It is believed that Mr. Kombo had offered to repay the 1.5Million and have the Auditor not expose the loss but the Auditor has declined.

Parents are aware of the efforts by the executive side of the BoM to dilute the report and have it conclude a positive opinion. However, with the original draft report already with a section of parents who are waiting for the final report to be diluted and presented to parents so that they pursue appropriate legal channels to have all those culprits face the law. The biggest irony of all this is that, it’s only the executive side of the board that has seen the report with the rest of the board members not aware of the report.

The school is surely on a big downfall. The board had its term ended in March 2021 and has since refused to call for an AGM and fresh election to elect the new board. There is no election team to conduct election as the old team had its term ended in 2019. Mr. Kombo’s contract ended in December 2020 but he is still in job in unclear circumstances. The school recorded its worst performance last year with only Eight (8) students crossing the 400 Marks. Many good teachers have left the school due to poor management and many who have remained are demoralized. Teachers and staff are divided with groups for and aginst Mr. Kombo formed. A huge section of noisy disgruntled parents have gone into silence after giving up in changing the culture of corruption in School. Corruption has surely finished the school.

Its only God who can save the school.”

Nyali Parents


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