One of the sad realities of money given to help those in need is that it often provides an easy avenue for the unscrupulous to make a profit at the expense of those whom the money was designed to help. In the case of free education for primary school children in Kenya, funded by the government and foreign donors, the Daily Nation has uncovered a scam which milks money from funds allocated for the purchase of textbooks.
Most textbooks are sufficiently durable to last for at least three or four years, and yet many schools have been ordering new text books for students every year. This is news to the publishers, who have stacks of books waiting to be ordered, and it is news to the many students who have to do without textbooks. Somewhere between the orders that appear in the school accounts and the publishers who do not receive the orders, there is some racketeering going on.
The scam appears to involve collusion between school principals and retailers who bill the schools for larger quantities of books than are delivered, then pocket the proceeds. If a school is threatened with an audit, the school’s stores are mysteriously broken into or a fire mysteriously breaks out in order to cover up the discrepancies. Thus greedy school principals steal from impoverished children.