Businessman "grabs" school bus, leaves students stranded

Misikhu Friends school bus parked at a private residential compound in Milimani, Kisumu in a picture taken on March 14,2019 after the owner of Nilam Garage towed it away, leaving 58 students and four teachers who were on tour in kisumu stranded over school debt. [Photo: Denish Ochieng/ Standard])

Students and teachers from a school in Bungoma were stranded in Kisumu after their bus was impounded.

The 58 students and four teachers from Misikhu Friends Boys High School were on a study tour of geographical sites in the town on Wednesday when the unexpected happened.

Their driver left them at the Impala Park at 3pm and drove to Nilam Garage for “routine” repairs only for the management to impound the bus over an alleged debt of Sh1.6 million.

“We waited but after being informed that the bus was not coming, we were advised to walk to the town centre at around 7.30pm, as the teachers made arrangements for where we would sleep,” said one of the students.

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The boys spent the night in Kisumu Boys High School while their teachers looked for accommodation in the town.

The visitors were still stranded in town by 3pm yesterday, as the Misikhu Friends administration made arrangements to ferry them back to school after the garage owner refused to release the bus, demanding full payment of the Sh1.6 million.

When The Standard visited the students, they complained of exhaustion, hunger and thirst.

Kisumu Boys Principal Peter Obwogo said he received the students at night and after being informed of their predicament, arranged for their makeshift accommodation in the dining hall.

Misikhu Friends Principal Maurice Otunga accused the garage owner, Nilesh Patel, of being inhuman.

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Mr Otunga said he was still new in the school but noted that the matter could have been resolved without subjecting the students to suffering.

“We have no documents showing the Board of Management approved the garage to repair that vehicle. I don’t understand why he had to wait for our students to come in the bus to Kisumu and then leave them in the park,” said Otunga.

Mr Patel admitted detaining the vehicle over the debt but said he was not aware that the students were stranded. He said he was prepared to provide another vehicle to drive the students and their teachers back to school, just not their bus.

Patel accused the school administration of failing to come to an arrangement on how the debt would be paid after the vehicle was repaired in 2017.

Yesterday, the school bus was not at his expansive garage in Jua Kali estate but was instead parked inside a private compound in Milimani estate. Patel vowed to release the vehicle only when the debt was paid in full.

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StudentsBungomaImpala ParkNilam GarageSchool bus