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Maasai Mara University Vice Chancellor Pro. Mary Walingo (extreme left) with her co-accused in court where they were charged with Sh177 million graft. /WANJIRU MACHARIA.

Kenya

Prof. Mary Walingo, 4 others charged with Sh177mn fraud at Maasi mara University

NAKURU, Kenya Aug 26 – Maasai Mara University Vice-Chancellor Prof Mary Walingo was Wednesday charged alongside other officials and suppliers over a multi-million shilling fraud at the institution.

They all denied corruption charges and granted a bond of Sh20 million or a cash bail of Sh10 million.

They appeared before a Nakuru Court in a virtual session, before Nakuru Chief Magistrate Elizabeth Usui.

Those in court with Prof. Walingo were Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Administration, Finance and Planning, Simon Kasaine Ole Seno, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic and Student Affairs, John Almadi Obere, Finance Officer, Anaclet Biket Okumu and the Vice Chancellor’s Driver Noor Hassan Abdi.

Charges against them were approved earlier this week by the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji.

They were all charged with 10 counts ranging from misappropriation of public funds, abuse of office, noncompliance of laws and procedures on the management of public funds. The officials faced a separate charge of stealing by servant.

Prof. Walingo faced seven of the charges, three of them alone while the other four were combined with either all the other four.

The five were first charged with conspiring to commit corruption by misappropriating Sh177 million belonging to Maasai Mara University.

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Prof. Walingo was charged with directing the unlawful expenditure of Sh176 million from the university’s bank accounts.

Court documents show that all the offenses were committed between June 2016 and December 2019.

Effort by State Counsel Daniel Karuri to have them barred from accessing Maasai Mara University were fruitless as the Magistrate said there was no sufficient ground for the action.

“I would appeal for the five to be stopped from going to the university because 27 of the witnesses in this matter are their juniors,” said Karuri.

Karuri had claimed that there were high chances that the suspects might intimidate witnesses.

The State Counsel had also opposed appeals by defense lawyers to have the five released on bonds of between Sh100,000 and Sh300,000.

“The bond mentioned by the defense lawyers is very low considering the offenses committed, the amount of public funds involved and the probable penalties if found guilty,” said Karuri.

He said according to the law, the suspects would be fined an amount double the figure on the charge.

The matter will be heard on September 11.

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