Uasin Gishu Senator Jackson Mandago has asked distraught students and angry parents to give him time to refund monies for the Finland scholarship program he started during his tenure as governor.
Mandago said this on Monday, August 7, during a meeting they convened with Uasin Gishu’s Governor Jonathan Bii, Deputy Governor Eng. John Barorot and Uasin Gishu County Commissioner Dr. Eddison Nyale.
“The money was paid for students who were already admitted to universities in Finland and Canada to avoid deportation and sustain the programme but we are determined to recover the money from the parents through all means,” Mandago explained.
Currently, 233 students are studying in Finland and 45 in Canada and reports revealed that some parents defaulted in making payments, which necessitated the use of funds for children who had not yet travelled to pay second-semester fees for those already in overseas universities.
Mandago further stated that he had initiated the program in good faith but wished he had known it would encounter difficulties.
His statement cames after angry parents asked for immediate refunds because their children never traveled abroad as intended and they demanded to know where the money went to and what they were doing about the fraud.
Earlier, Governor Jonathan Bii laid the blame on his predecessor while pointing to a Ksh138 million shortfall in the kitty set-up for the program.
The governor explained that there were no monies to refund to the parents but implied that it would be done later after assessing the database that bears all the information.
As it now seems, the controversial multi-million shilling Uasin Gishu scholarship programme has been reduced to a blame game between Governor Bii and Senator Mandago.
Apparently, students and parents affected by the Finland education fiasco in Uasin Gishu have held demonstrations several times in Eldoret demanding a refund of their money.
However, police have been blocking the parents from accessing Governor Bii’s office during the peaceful protests.
This issue has now elicited overwhelming public interest after a young student caught the eye of many as she lectured the leaders about the whole matter.
Meanwhile, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) commenced investigations into the alleged embezzlement of more than Ksh837 million by officials of the Uasin Gishu County Government.
“The investigations will reveal any embezzlement that may have taken place in the process. Similarly, the probe also focuses on Ksh57,538,429 withdrawn locally by the county officials appointed to manage the Trust Fund Account,” the commission said.
This is a separate probe being conducted by the EACC parallel to another one by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).
By Thuita Jaswant
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