Oscar Sudi walks tight rope as his academic papers attract huge question marks

Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi. [Peter Ochieng, Standard]

A Nairobi court yesterday heard how Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi allegedly forged academic certificates to contest the 2013 General Election.

Two witnesses testified that the legislator did not sit the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination or obtain a diploma in business management.

The MP sat pensively in court as John Matseshe from the Kenya Institute of Management (KIM) and Nabiki Kashu from the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) disowned his certificates as forgeries and non-existent in their databases.

Matseshe, a former head of examinations at KIM, took the stand yesterday and testified that Sudi’s diploma purportedly issued by the institution in September 2008 was fake.

“I can confirm that the certificate registered under the name of Sudi Oscar Kipchumba was not a genuine document from Kenya Institute of Management. He may not have been a student in our institution and did not sit any examination,” he said.

Facing trial

According to Matseshe, the serial number on the certificate presented by Sudi belonged to Elkana Kimutai, while the admission number belonged to Scholastica Achieng Odhiambo.

Matseshe’s testimony came a day after Kashu disowned the MP’s KCSE certificate.

Kashu, who is Knec’s principal examinations secretary, testified that the MP did not register or sit the 2006 KCSE examination at Highway Secondary School in Nairobi, and that the index number on the certificate belonged to Parklands Secondary School.

Kapseret Mp Oscar Sudi addressing mourners at Kabatini area, Bahati, Nakuru. June 2019. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Sudi is facing trial for allegedly forging academic certificates while seeking clearance from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to contest the 2013 elections.

According to the charges, the MP forged a diploma certificate in business management purporting that it was issued by KIM, and KCSE and school-leaving certificates from Highway Secondary.

He is further accused of uttering documents, with the prosecution claiming that he presented the forged certificates to EACC and IEBC officials while purporting that they were genuine.

Matseshe told Anti-Corruption Court Magistrate Felix Kombo that he was the head of examinations at KIM in 2015 when he received a letter from EACC requesting that he verify a certificate presented by the legislator.

“They attached a copy of the certificate bearing the names of Sudi Kipchumba Oscar and asked me to verify and certify if it was issued by the institution,” he said.

He testified that he discovered the certificate was not a genuine document issued by the institution and that the person whose name was appearing (Sudi) was not a student at the institution and did not sit any exams.

Matseshe stated that the certificate number 36262 was issued to Elkana Kimutai who had pursued a Diploma in Purchasing and Supply, while Sudi’s purported admission number NRB/20879 belonged to Scholastica Achieng Odhiambo who was a Diploma in Management student.

Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi standing beside a matatu, October 1998. [Eliud Kipsang, Standard]

He testified that the certificate did not show when Sudi was admitted to the institution, and that the student database did not have his details.

His testimony corroborated evidence submitted by the Knec official on Tuesday that the legislator did not register or sit the 2006 KCSE exam at Highway Secondary as he claimed.

Kashu had told the court that after checking through the Knec database, it was established that the examination centre code 401006 did not belong to Highway Secondary but Parklands Secondary.

She stated that Sudi’s name did not appear in the 2006 Knec records for either Parklands Secondary or Highway Secondary, and that the MP also forged the name of the school since there was no institution called Highway High School.

Kashu said that Sudi’s purported KCSE index number 401006/081 belonged to Obaje Bob Onyango, who sat the exam at Parklands Secondary, and that there was no way two candidates could share index numbers.

Returning officer

Bernard Mulati, an IEBC returning officer, had previously testified that he cleared the MP in 2013 without knowing he had forged academic certificates. He said he did not suspect anything was amiss until investigations were conducted in 2016.

Sudi had attempted to stop his prosecution when he filed a suit at the High Court arguing that he was not accorded a fair hearing by the EACC and that the charges violated his privacy and dignity.

Oscar Sudi's multi-million home in Kapseret, Uasin Gishu County. [Eliud Kipsang, Standard]

But Lady Justice Hedwig Ong’udi dismissed the application, ruling that the prosecution did not violate his rights and were justified to charge him based on the evidence collected linking him to the forgeries.

According to the judge, the EACC and the DPP were only enforcing the Leadership and Integrity Act and “would have no ill intention of prosecuting the legislator if he did not commit any crime.”

Sudi moved to the Court of Appeal where justices William Ouko, Wanjiru Karanja and Asike Makhandia dismissed his appeal on grounds that they could not interfere with the magistrate’s power to hear the case.

The MP took to social media yesterday where he wrote, “I have seen busybodies prosecuting my case in the court of public opinion. Why can’t they wait for the court process to take its course?” He also said he had more than 50 witnesses “on his side”.

The prosecution has so far presented 10 witnesses with the remaining three scheduled to testify when the hearing resumes on November 17.