Govt to clear out fraudsters 14 000 war veterans’ children claim fees
THE Government is working to eliminate fraudulent claims and double dipping in school fees claims for children of war veterans with fresh statistics showing that there are over 14 000 fees claims for the s e c ond term. The Minister of Welfare Services for War veterans, War Collaborators, Ex-political detainees and Restrictees, Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube, said his ministry had introduced a new mechanism to plug loopholes and avoid fraudulent claims. Responding to a question in Parliament on Wednesday, Cde Dube said half of the applications for the second term had been processed already. “I want to assure this august House that the Mi n i s t r y only pays school fees when t h e money i s availed.
From a managerial and administrative perspective, the Ministry is instituting concrete measures to eliminate fraudulent claims, double dipping and ghost beneficiaries,” he told Parliament.
“To this end, starting first term 2016, we introduced a new application form that requires, among other things, the school head to fill and sign a portion of the form dealing with the school fees”.
Cde Dube said all cash payments had been stopped and instead the Ministry now only transacts electronically into bank accounts of schools and colleges.
He said among the measures, his ministry was also monitoring progress of all children receiving Government support through checking the number of years in school or college.
“This means if a child is registered as being in primary school, we expect that child to complete Grade 7 and prove it at the end of seven years. The same goes for secondary, higher and tertiary education.
This eliminates the problem where in a few cases; a child would be receiving support for Form 4 for 14 years, for example. This intrusive management is intended to eliminate such cases and it is working,’” said Cde Dube.
Cde Dube added that the Ministry was working on reducing the school fees bill.
“Finally, the Ministry pays a maximum of $700 per child, per term or semester. We are in the process of consulting line ministries in the education sector to bring the upper limit down, in a graded way for primary and secondary education thus differentiating the two from the tertiary limit.
Through these measures, we are hoping to significantly reduce the school fees bill,” he said.
Cde Dube said his Ministry was waiting for funding to clear the school fees backlog.
“This year, Treasury availed $6 million on 5th of April, 2016, two days ahead of the meeting with the President.
“The Ministry was compelled to use part of this money to host the President’s meeting with the war veterans on the understanding, agreed beforehand with Treasury, that this would be reimbursed. This has not been done due to current economic challenges.
“The Ministry was therefore, able to pay two batches of school fees covering arrears for the First Term 2015. This left a third batch amounting to just over $1, 3 million which is ready for payment as soon as the money used for the meeting is reimbursed.”
“The august house may also be pleased to know that soon after the President’s meeting with war veterans, Treasury appropriated an additional $6 million towards second term school fees,” said Cde Dube.
“This appropriation is yet to be funded by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. The Ministry presently has received 14 500 applications for the second term school fees of which 7 000 have already been processed for payment but are awaiting funding.” — @ AuxiliaK