President William Ruto finally issued a response to the scandal in Uasin Gishu involving Finland and Canada scholarships. The scholarship saga has left parents reeling from their losses and students scorned after the funds disappeared.
Ruto was in Uasin Gishu, marking the start of the three-day Devolution Conference. In his statement, he mentioned that he was aware of the scandal and called on anyone who was involved to start the refund process.
“Mambo ya Finland najua tukona matatizo, kuna wazazi wametoa pesa na pesa yao haijulikani iko wapi. Kama kuna mtu alikula hiyo pesa ajipange kulipa mapema ama ataingia taabani,” President Ruto told residents.
Additionally, he mentioned that the government would step in for those directly affected by the scandal. He stated that they would assist the students who were conned by the scholarship scheme by providing scholarships, though locally.
He further stated that though the students would be compensated for their losses, those responsible for the entire scandal would still be held liable.
The scandal has come to light recently, with over 200 parents recording statements with the DCI in Eldoret. They responded after the news of millions missing in the county came out. These millions were for the Uasin Gishu Overseas Education Trust scholarship bank account, intended to send students to study in Finland and Canada.
Finland and Canada Scholarship Scandal
Over 200 parents are said to have sent a total of Ksh 837,855,889 for their students to study abroad. The students travelled to Finland to pursue different courses from May 2021 to December 2022. In March 2023 however, the students were deported after some universities stated they had not received fees for the second semester.
Parents after being duped by the county government, went to the streets to fight for their rights which would be refunded from the government. Mercy Tarus, a beneficiary of the scholarship, addressed these officials blatantly expressing the disappointment and the frustrations they were going through.
One of the universities terminated their cooperation contract with Uasin Gishu and Elgeyo Marakwet due to the unpaid tuition and accommodation for the students.
The DPP has ordered the prosecution of Uasin Gishu senator Jackson Mandago alongside three other officials. They include; Joseph Kipkemoi Maritim, Meshak Rono, and Joshua Kipkemoi Lelei.
The four have been accused of conspiring to steal Ksh 1.1 billion from a KCB account in Eldoret. The account is under the Uasin Gishu Overseas Education Trust Fund which is meant for students’ overseas university fees.
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