Over K1 billion has been looted at the Higher Education Students’ Loans and Grants Board (HESLGB) through dubious payments to ineligible students at an unaccredited university.
The looting has been revealed through an investigative audit at the loans board.
According to the report, between 2019 and 2020, the loans board gave out K1.3 billion in student loans and out of this K1.1 billion was disbursed dubiously, with K590 million to students at a single university which was not accredited by Malawi’s National Council for Higher Education.
This was against the rules as Section 24(a) of the HESLGB Act of 2015 provides that students registered at an unaccredited university are not eligible for loans from the board.
Apart from giving out the loans illegally, the loans board also inflated the fees as it gave out K890,000 per student per semester.
In 2018-19, the same unaccredited university also claimed an amount of K460 million as student loans.
At the time loans board officials were looting money through these dubious payments, needy students were languishing with some begging from well-wishers on social media for fees while others were forced to drop out of university.
The board’s executive director Prince Phwetekere has told the local media that results of the audit were submitted to the office of the Attorney General (AG).
Meanwhile, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Steve Kayuni says his office has told police to investigate the matter and arrest those found in the wrong.
In July this year, HESLGB Loans and Grants Manager Chimwemwe Kaphagawani and Communications Manager, Success Sikwese, were arrested and later granted bail on allegation that they failed to account for about K300 million to their employer.
This followed revelations that about K300 million was stolen at loans board between 2018 and 2019 through payments to a private institution of higher learning called African University Guidance, Counselling and Youth Development.
Loans board employees accused of stealing K335m meant for students’ loans