Mandago's Sh1 billion Finland education scam case set for July

Uasin Gishu Senator Jackson Mandago. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

A Nakuru court has set four consecutive days to hear the Sh1.1 billion Finland Education Programme case facing Uasin Gishu Senator Jackson Mandago.

Mandago is charged alongside Meshack Rono, Uasin Gishu Deputy Director County Education Fund and Joshua Lelei, a county official.

Senior Principal Magistrate Peter Ndege ruled that Mandago’s trial will begin on July 1 to July 4.

Ndege took into account that the prosecution had lined up 202 witnesses to testify against the senator and his co-accused persons.

“The court needs at least four days to ensure we hear as many witnesses as possible during the beginning of the trial,” said Ndege.

Ndege set the dates after Mandago’s lawyer, Stephen Kibungei, confirmed to the court that the defence team was ready to proceed with the trial.

On January 15, Kibungei had asked the court for a month to go through all the supplied documents, saying the documents were bulky and they needed a month to prepare.

“We have gone through all the documents supplied, and we are ready for trial,” said Kibungei.

Documentary evidence

State Counsel Angeline Chinga said the prosecution had supplied all the documents to Mandago, including 20 documentary evidence and exhibits, to be used in the trial.

The prosecution, according to Chinga, supplied the defence team with the charge sheet and a forensic document examiner's report and exhibit memo.

Among other listed documents are deposit slips and acceptance letters for each of the 180 students, who are complainants in the case.

Mandago and his co-accused have denied ten charges of conspiracy to steal, stealing, abuse of office and forgery.

The charge sheet indicates that the three conspired to steal Sh1.1 billion from KCB Bank in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu,  between March 1, 2021 and September 12, 2022.

Mandago is said to have abused his office between March 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022, when he allegedly entered into a memorandum of understanding with universities in Finland and Canada on behalf of his government, without approval from the county assembly.

“The accused person misrepresented that the county was offering full scholarships to students to study in Finland and Canada,” read the charge sheet.

Rono and Lelei are accused of stealing Sh56.5 million from KCB Eldoret Branch on dates between June 2021 and September 12, 2022.

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