Taking girls’ Cash Money is punishable -Lopuke
By Moses Gum Degur
The Undersecretary at the Ministry of General Education and Instruction, Michael Lopuke Lotyam has issued a stern warning to the South Sudanese public that any attempt to interfere with Girls Education South Sudan (GESS) Cash Transfer will be dealt with severely.
The official made these remarks at the launch of GESS’ Cash Money Transfer on 22nd September 2017 to over 200,000 validated school girls across the country.
Lopuke emphasized that those found depriving eligible girls from receiving Cash Transfer payments will face administrative measures.
He said that those involved in the process of transferring cash meant for girls away from them are expected to behave in a responsible, polite and respectful manner towards recipients and other members of the school community, and that any efforts to make fraud will be countered.
“Any attempts to take funds away from school girls whether by teachers, officials, police or anyone else, is an offence, and will be dealt with severely,” he said. “Attempts to substitute other people for girls who were validated but are absent or to get girls from lower year groups paid also are dispensed sternly,” Lopuke cautioned.
He said the funds paid out belong to girls to support them to enable their education and therefore the Ministry expects no irregularities in the process.
Lopuke said girls’ Cash Transfers are part of a programme aimed at transforming the position of girls and women and transforming society widely and that GESS Cash Transfer is an inclusive tactic to renovating the nation through girls’ education.
He said there is need for schools and communities to provide special protection to girls receiving Cash Transfers especially specific payment dates at schools.
“As education leaders, it is incumbent upon us all to ensure that this process gets money to the intended recipients. We should fulfil our obligations to ensure that girls are free to receive full amount without the risk of intimidation, loss of funds, theft, violence or any other setback,” Mr. Lopuke stressed.
He further called on school head teachers, county education directors, and other concerned persons to exert all efforts to make it clear to schools and communities that malpractice of any kind will not be tolerated and that Cash Transfer amounts belong fully to the girls.
“Ministry of General Education and Instruction has zero tolerance of fraud and corruption, and will press for serious penalties for any attempts to dishonestly access, divert or misuse these funds, Lopuke further warned.
He acknowledged the role played by UK Aid for their financial and technical support for GESS programme in South Sudan despite several difficulties in the country.
According to GESS, over 200,000 school girls starting from primary 5 to senior four were supposed to start receiving Cash Transfers as of last week.