Uasin Gishu senator Jackson Mandago has been arrested hours after warrant of arrest was issued in connection to the Ksh 1.1 billion shillings Finland Scholarship Programme scandal.
Mandago was arrested in Eldoret and taken to Nakuru for questioning. The Senator had had earlier refuted reports of a warrant of arrest issued against him by police adding that he was not in hiding.
‘There are rumours all over Eldoret Town that DCI Officers have been looking for me the whole night. As a law abiding citizen, I am available once summoned. I have met with the leadership of parents and agreed on the way forward as per their press statement issued last evening,” he stated.
Nakuru Senior Principal Magistrate Alloys Ndege has issued a warrant for the arrest of Uasin Gishu Senator Jackson Mandago and three county officials (Joseph Kipkemoi Maritim, Meshak Rono and Joshua Kipkemoi Lelei) over Ksh 1.1 billion as money meant for university fees for overseas education.
The prosecution applied for the warrants to be issued after the four failed to turn up in court for plea-taking.
The four persons have been charged with 11 counts of stealing, abuse of office, and conspiracy to commit a felony.
It is alleged that, on diverse dates between March and September 2021, the accused persons jointly conspired to steal more than 1 billion Kenya shillings from an account domiciled at Kenya Commercial Bank Eldoret.
The account was registered under the Uasin Gishu Education Trust Fund, meant for overseas university fees for students under the Uasin Gishu County Overseas Education Program.
Last week, Mandago and the other officials were grilled at the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) headquarters 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.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has also been investigating allegations of embezzlement of over Ksh 837 million by the officials.
The funds in question were collected from parents for the facilitation of Tertiary Education in Finland and Canada during the FY 2021/2022.
According to the EACC, Mandago was interviewed as a person of interest after summons were issued to appear before the Commission.
The former Governor was summoned to assist the Commission in its investigations considering his role as the Chief Executive Officer of the County Government of Uasin Gishu when the Overseas Trust Fund was conceptualized and operationalized.
As Governor, he also exercised oversight over the Department of Youth & Gender and Sports Affairs, where the program was domiciled, and he is alleged to have played key roles in the adoption of the programme.
The Uasin Gishu Education Trust Fund Account was opened in May 2021 and by December 2022, a total of over Ksh 957 million had been credited to the account by Parents.
A total of Ksh 257,326,740 was debited from the Uasin Gishu Overseas Account to beneficiaries indicated as agents and/or intermediaries for onward transmission to Universities in Finland and Canada.
The investigation was to reveal if any embezzlement took place in the process.
Similarly, the probe was to focus on over Ksh 57 million withdrawn locally by the county officials appointed to manage the Trust Fund Account.
Meanwhile, President William Ruto has said that anyone who misappropriated monies the monies must be ready to refund the same or face the music.
“The people who embezzled the funds must be ready to refund before they get into trouble. Nobody will be allowed to go scot-free. Hard-earned money of the affected people must be refunded,” President Ruto said while addressing residents of Eldoret town Wednesday.
“Once investigations are finalized, I will see how better we can assist the affected students who are innocent by giving them scholarships locally to enable them pursue their education.”