Kenya: DPP Orders Arrest of Mandago Over Finland Scholarships’ Scandal

Nairobi — The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) has ordered the arrest of Uasin Gishu Senator Jackson Mandago over the Finland scholarships scandal when he was Governor.

He and three other top county officials are wanted by police for prosecution over the county’s scholarship scam.

The other officials are Joseph Kipkemoi Maritim, Meshak Rono and Joshua Kipkemoi Lelei.

This is after the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution gave consent for the prosecution of the officials in the saga.

They are supposed to face charges of conspiracy to commit felony, stealing and abuse of office.

They are accused of conspiring to steal Sh1 billion from an account domiciled at the Kenya Commercial Bank in Eldoret registered under the Uasin Gishu Education Trust Fund meant for overseas university fees for students under Uasin Gishu County Overseas Education Programme.

The detectives handling the matter said they had tried to reach the wanted officials in vain.

They claimed they were attending the Devolution Conference in Eldoret town.

This prompted police to move to Nakuru law courts to seek warrants to arrest the suspects.

The officials had been grilled for the better part of last week before the file was taken to the ODPP with recommendations to charge them with among others obtaining money with false pretence and fraud.

“We hope to get warrants to get them,” said an official aware of the issue.

Mandago and the other officials were summoned to the Directorate of Criminal Investigation headquarters last Friday where they were grilled by a team that is investigating the Finland and Canada overseas education programme.

Mandago confirmed the grilling but did not disclose what he told the officers on his possible role in the saga.

Mandago was summoned to the DCI to give his statement in the ongoing probe into the scam.

Mandago is also being investigated by Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) detectives.

He was on August 1 grilled by the detectives over the same in a separate probe being conducted by the anti graft agency.

EACC is probing allegations of embezzlement of over Sh837 million by officials of the Uasin Gishu County government collected from parents for the facilitation of scholarship programmes for their children to Finland and Canada.

The Uasin Gishu Education Trust Fund account is said to have been opened in May 2021, and by December 2022, Sh957,167,143 had been credited to the account by parents.

A total of Sh257,326,740 was debited from the account to beneficiaries to facilitate them to Finland and Canada for the programmes.

The anti-graft watchdog is focusing its probe on Sh57,538,429 withdrawn locally by Uasin Gishu County officials appointed to manage the fund.

A group of protesters have been staging a demonstration in Eldoret Town over the saga.

The protesters said they want refund of their money.

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