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Ward manager in Vihiga disappears after issuing Sh5m bouncing cheques


A ward manager at Shamakhokho in Vihiga County, who allegedly misappropriated a Sh5 million ward bursary fund, has disappeared.

Vincent Sultan was accused of signing bursary cheques in August and early this month, yet he is not a signatory to the ward bursary fund account.

The 30 cheques he allegedly signed affected students from different schools, among them Senende High School and Shamakhokho Secondary. Moi and Mount Kenya University students were also affected after the cheques were rejected by various banks due to irregular signatures. Sultan, who is also the personal assistant to Shamakhokho MCA Richard Muhiga, was also accused of selling the bouncing cheques to unsuspecting parents.

"We have noted the anomaly and the case is being investigated by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations in the county. We will only make conclusive remarks after the officers are through with their investigations," said Muhiga. He added: "We learnt that the cheque book for the ward's bursary kitty had gone missing. We also learnt that my ward manager was signing the cheques, yet he is not a signatory to the bursary account."

Sultan allegedly signed a cheque of Sh65,000 for a student of Moi University in August and another cheque of Sh40,000 to a Mount Kenya University student, but both bounced.

He then wrote a follow-up letter to the Eldoret based university and signed it in the name of Shamakhokho ward administrator Derrick Anusu.

In some of the cheques seen by The Standard, the suspect signed another cheque of Sh25,000 to Senende High School on October 13 and two others of Sh12,000 to Shamakhokho Secondary during the same period.

The forged signatures, Muhiga noted, saw many cheques get rejected by banks, consequently affecting many needy students, who were to benefit from the ward bursary kitty.

Muhiga said as a result, he wrote to the county assembly clerk asking her to stop the salaries for ward staff until the matter affecting his personal assistant was settled.

Residents protested, saying Sultan had usurped the functions of the ward administrator.

County Education Executive Nixon Amendi said the issue of forged signatures and bouncing cheques for the ward bursary had also been reported in Izava/Lyaduywa and Central Maragoli wards. "We have sent auditors to those wards and are waiting for their report," he said. The county has disbursed Sh125 million for the bursary fund, with each ward getting Sh5 million.

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