Uasin Gishu Senator Jackson Mandago in the dock at Nakuru Law Courts. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Uasin Gishu Senator Jackson Mandago has moved to court to challenge charges over the Sh1.1 billion Finland Education Programme scandal.

Mandago, Meshack Rono, Joshua Lelei and Jacob Sisey, in their case filed before the High Court in Nairobi, accuse the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) of abuse of power.

In their court papers filed by Echessa and Bwire Advocates LLP, the four claim that it is illegal to be charged a second time over the same issue and based on the same facts.

“Currently we are at risk of facing two simultaneous trials over the same set of facts illegally instituted by the respondents in gross violation of our rights and against the well laid down principles of fair administrative action and rights to fair hearing,” court papers read in part.

EACC in its report dated December 8, 2023 recommended to the DPP to charge Mandago, Rono, Lelei and Sisey with 19 counts.

In the first count, the anti-graft body proposed that they should face conspiracy to commit an offence, one count of breach of trust, five counts of abuse of office, two counts of unlawful acquisition of public property, one count of fraudulent acquisition of public property and 11 counts of uttering false documents.

However, they argued that the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) had separately pursued over the same saga and were charged before the Nakuru magistrate’s court.

In Nakuru, Mandago, Rono and Lelei faced 10 charges, including conspiracy to commit a felony, stealing, forgery and abuse of office.

Mandago and his co-accused were alleged to have conspired to steal the Sh1.1 billion from KCB Bank in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu, on the dates between March 1, 2021 and September 12, 2022.

According to the State, the money in the account was registered under the county’s education overseas university fees for students under the education programme.

The former Uasin Gishu governor also faced three charges of abuse of office when he was the governor.

Mandago is accused of entering into an MoU with universities in Finland and Canada on behalf of his government, without approval from the county assembly. 

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