December 15, 2023


Uasin Gishu officials to be arrested over Finland Scholarship scam. The DPP has given the EACC permission to arrest Jackson Mandago.

More by Cameron Grant

Uasin Gishu officials to be arrested over Finland Scholarship scam

Uasin Gishu officials to be arrested over Finland Scholarship scam

Earlier this year, we reported on allegations of corruption and embezzlement within the Uasin Gishu County Government, particularly concerning the Uasin Gishu Overseas Education Trust Scholarship Fund. The program, designed to fully sponsor students pursuing higher education in Finland between 2021 and 2022, has taken an unexpected turn with startling revelations.

As the story initially broke, Kenya’s social media netizens were introduced to Mercy Tarus, a student who had applied for a scholarship as part of the Finland Scholarship set-up. Ms Tarus’ public dressing down of Uasin Gishu public officials – including County senator Jackson Mandago (furthest to the right in picture above) – at a county meeting between the allegedly defrauded students and the scholarship organisers quickly went viral.

With #MercyTarus trending on X, shocking rumours about the extent of the fraud quickly spread. Funds were improperly spent, no scholarships materialised and there were allegations that the students’ parents signatures were forged in order to access secured funds.

This very public airing of Uasin Gishu’s dirty laundry shifted focus toward the ongoing EACC investigation.

Initial concerns about the Finland Scholarship scheme

The investigation was initially initiated following a complaint received over a year before Mercy Tarus gained national fame. A complaint was lodged with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) on October 24, 2022. The complaint alleged that the former Governor of Uasin Gishu and other county officials abused their office, accumulating unexplained wealth through the operation of a student overseas account.

Evidence uncovered during the investigation pointed to a series of questionable activities. In 2019, the former Governor of Uasin Gishu was introduced to overseas education opportunities by Cornelius Kiplagat, director of Max Global. This introduction led to collaboration with Tampere University officials, resulting in a memorandum of understanding to foster cooperation in education and cultural activities.

Subsequently, a secretariat was formed to facilitate the registration of the trust overseeing the overseas education program. Shockingly, it was found that the bank accounts for the Uasin Gishu County Overseas Education were opened using forged account opening forms and signatures of account signatories.

Financial irregularities exposed in Finland Scholarship scheme

The county advertised scholarships, requiring applicants to pay KSh. 9,000 examination fees. Successful applicants’ parents were then advised to pay varying amounts, leading to a cumulative deposit of KSh. 1,151,586,973.11. Investigations revealed that substantial sums were paid to universities in Finland and Canada, foreign agencies, and local agencies, with significant amounts withdrawn in cash.

Further investigations exposed a conspiracy involving the Chief Officer for Youth Affairs, Gender, and Sports, as well as the Deputy Director of the County Education Revolving Funds. It was revealed that the withdrawn funds were not used for their intended purpose.

Legal action to be taken on Finland Scholarship scandal

On September 25, 2023, a comprehensive report was compiled and forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) with recommendations for charging the former Governor and other county officials on multiple counts. The charges include conspiracy to commit economic crime, breach of trust, abuse of office, unlawful acquisition of public property, and uttering a false document.

In a significant development, the DPP has accepted the Commission’s recommendation for prosecution and has now given the EACC permission to arrest certain of those implicated in the wide-ranging fraud. Uasin Gishu’s Senator, Jackson Mandago, is likely to be foremost on that list of people to be arrested.

As the legal proceedings unfold, the Uasin Gishu County faces a critical moment in addressing the allegations of corruption and ensuring justice is served for the students whose educational dreams were jeopardized by the Finland Scholarship Scandal.


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