The Auditor General’s Department has found that contracts totaling $1.3 billion were issued for construction, repairs and maintenance of schools using direct and emergency procurement during the period of its review, 2013/14 to 2017/18.
This was more than a third of the total sum of $3.5 billion dollars spent on such contracts.
The Auditor General reviewed 306 contracts for the review period.
The Ministry of Education explained that direct contracting was the result of extreme urgency, brought about by unforeseen events, and the service could not be obtained through limited tender or local competitive bidding before the start of the school term.
The Auditor General's Department has countered, however, that it was the ministry's failure to put plans in action in a timely manner which resulted in it resorting to last minute procurements.
The Auditor General also found deficiencies in the allocation of school furniture by the Ministry of Education.
It says the Ministry did not have adequate systems to monitor stock levels and distribution of furniture among schools.
As a result, while some schools had excess furniture, others were under-supplied and there was little redistribution to achieve optimal allocation.
The Ministry reported it was unable to provide 76 per cent of desks and benches and 81 per cent of chairs and stools requested.