Uasin Gishu Finland Scholarship Scandal Probe by DCI Begins

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Uasin Gishu Finland Scholarship
Uasin Gishu Finland Scholarship Scandal Probe by DCI Begins

Detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) will investigate the scandalous Uasin Gishu Finland Scholarship program scandal beginning today.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) is currently looking into how Sh839.9 million of student funds were spent on the questionable Finland and Canada airlift program.

Eric Ngumbi, head of Corporate Affairs and Communication at the EACC, stated that commission probes would uncover any embezzlement that may have occurred since the program’s inception.

“I can confirm that the figure that is involved by the probe of the EACC is Sh837.9 million. That is the total amount the county government officials received through the designated bank accounts in trust for the people of Uasin Gishu,” said Ngumbi.

EACC sleuths have retrieved crucial documents from three signatories of the trust bank accounts implicated in the scandal, claiming that the documents will be indispensable to the ongoing investigations.

Social media

As the EACC investigation continues, the DCI detectives are anticipated to conduct a comprehensive investigation in Uasin Gishu County between July 18 and July 21. The DCI announced via its social media channels that it has begun investigating allegations of fraud involving a scholarship program in Finland.

This is in response to numerous complaints from Uasin Gishu County residents who claimed to have been defrauded out of millions of shillings in a scholarship program to the Scandinavian country.

The DCI has urged all aggrieved victims to report to the DCI county headquarters in Eldoret today for statement recording and other investigative measures aimed at bringing the perpetrators to justice.

As affected parents and students wait for government agencies to conclude their investigations, numerous questions have been raised about how county officials managed the airlift program and how the students’ funds were utilized.

Senator Jackson Mandago, the former governor, asserted on Friday that when he transferred over power to Governor Jonathan Bii on August 25, 2012, the overseas account contained a total of Sh104.7 million.

Governor Bii and his deputy, John Barorot, argued, however, that the account contains only Sh1.8 million. In March, Bii asked the EACC to conduct a forensic audit of the overseas trust account and scrutinize senior county officials accused of forgery and abuse of office.

The governor’s directive followed a report compiled by an ad hoc committee of the County Assembly that revealed the program had flaws and education funds were wasted.

According to the committee, the program’s administration lacked transparency. Despite repeated requests, the parents of the students were never furnished with the memorandums of understanding and fee structures. The parents claimed that the first group of students who traveled to Finland at the beginning of the program were granted a certificate of full scholarship, despite the fact that they were paying their own school fees.

With the certificate of full scholarship, students were severely disadvantaged because they were regarded as fully sponsored students and given fewer hours to generate money for school fees. According to parents led by Reuben Chepses, certain students required 8,650 Euros in school fees, which is equivalent to Sh1.19 million.

In addition, the parents were required to pay Sh80,000 for three months of housing, Sh30,000 for insurance, Sh49,000 for a visa, Sh5,000 for a Covid-19 test, and Sh100,000 for a flight.

The students paid Sh6,500 each for the interview fee, but no receipts were issued for this amount.

Finnish higher education

As of March of this year, the county had sent 202 students to different institutions in Finland, including Tampere (111 students), Jyvaskyla (25 students), and Laurea (66 students).

In addition to the 182 students who had begun the process and were anticipated to pursue higher education in the European country through the Uasin Gishu Finland Scholarship.

56 had completed their first semester online. The Uasin Gishu County Assembly Committee, headed by Gilbert Chepkonga, approved the recovery of the stolen funds to assist the stranded students at Finnish universities.

According to the report, the county government, under the leadership of former Governor Mandago, established the Trust Fund account at KCB in order to receive tuition fees from pupils who benefited from the airlift program.

However, the implementation of the program is said to have been such a closely guarded secret that not even the then-County Head of Education, Joseph Kurgat, knew about the establishment of the bank account or the operation of the program, despite the fact that it fell under his purview.

Kurgat explained that the Uasin Gishu Finland Scholarship had not been discussed at the county level.

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