Revealed: Nakuru County minister presented fake certificates to get job

By Alex Kiprotich

Nakuru, Kenya: A county minister in Nakuru presented forged academic certificates to the recruiting panel, The Standard on Sunday can authoritatively report.

Investigation by The Standard on Sunday in collaboration with a Non-Governmental Organisation, Counties Efficiency in Development (CEDEV), reveals that Nakuru County Trade Minister Sam Gitau presented forged certificates while making application to be considered for the position on April 17, 2013, and on the strength of the documents he was hired.

In the application addressed to the interim county secretary, Gitau indicates that he holds a Bachelor of Science Degree (Bsc) in Business Management from The University of Brunel in London, England.

“I hold a Bachelor of Science degree Bsc in Business Management from The University of Brunel in London, England and over the years I have gained a wide and valuable experience in business management, trade and investments,” reads the application he tendered and to which he attached his resumé, copy of CID clearance, copy of Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission clearance, Higher Education Loans Board and Kenya Revenue Authority clearance certificates.

On the education background section, Gitau attached a copy of a university degree certificate showing he graduated on July 17, 2005 with first class honours. The certificate is signed by a Prof Julia Buckingham.

In the same section, he indicated that between 1991 and 1994, he attended Gatamaiyu High School in Kiambu, where he attained a mean grade of B- (minus), and between 1982 and 1990, he attended Matimbei Primary School and attained 571 marks out of 700 in the 1990 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education.

It is not clear why Gitau did not include his KCPE and KCSE certificates when he was submitting his CV and how the interim secretary, Joseph Motari or the shortlisting panel failed to demand such from him.

However, investigations by The Standard on Sunday in partnership with CEDEV national chairman James Maina Mugo reveal that Gitau neither went to The University of Brunel nor did he attain the marks he stated in his KCPE and KCSE results.

In a correspondence from the university, the institution, through its Senior Awards Officer Gen Rodriguez, said after investigating Gitau’s degree certificate and transcripts, for which we had sent for authentication and verification, the university said it did not issue it neither did they find in their records the name Gitau.

“Thank you for your recent verification request attaching a scan of a certificate and transcript for Samuel Ndung’u Gitau,” reads the letter.

“After investigation, I can confirm that we have no record in the name of Samuel Ndung’u Gitau and that award Gitau claims to have is false as per your suspicions. Furthermore, I can confirm that the certificate and transcript attached are not official documents issued by Brunel University,” reads the response from Rodriguez.

Serious view

The university says Prof Julia Buckingham, the designated vice chancellor in Gitau’s documents, was the head, division of Neuroscience and Mental Health and professor of Pharmacology, Imperial College London.

At the time of alleged issuance of the certificate in 2005, the institution says, Prof Mansoor Sarhadi was acting vice chancellor.

“The university takes a serious view of anyone who fraudulently claims to have a Brunel University degree and we would like to raise this matter directly with Mr Gitau. I would therefore be grateful if you would agree to provide contact details,” reads the letter.

Another officer at the university, Jeffrey Wagland, the Head of Brand and Communications, wrote to The Standard on Sunday to confirm earlier communication by Rodriguez.

“Further to your email of May 2, addressed to Gen Rodriguez, I can confirm that we have no record of Samuel Ndung’u Gitau being awarded a Bachelor of Science degree by this university in July 2005. I can also confirm that we have responded to a request from CEDEV with the same information,” said Wagland.

The investigations further revealed that Gitau did not score B- in KCSE as he indicated in the application form. The Standard on Sunday has seen the KNEC results print out for Gatamaiyu High School, which were also certified by the school principal, a Mr Karugu on April 3, 2014.

In that year, the school entered 112 candidates and none attained a mean grade of B-, which Gitau purports to have scored. The highest score was C+. “From our records, Samuel Ndungu Gitau scored D+. We are not aware of any other Gitau who got B- because the highest score that year was C+,” said the principal.

The minister also falsified his KCPE results according to our investigations. Whereas Gitau indicates in his application for the CEC job that he attained 571 marks, certified copies of the results of the 34 candidates who sat for KCPE at Matimbei Primary School in 1990 show that the highest pupil was Wanjiku Hanhah with 507 marks.

Gitau, who appears in the list as Ndung’u Samuel, scored 378 marks.

Criminal offence

Falsifying academic documents is a criminal offence under the Penal Code Section 313. Uttering the same document is also an offence under Section 337 of the law. The offences attract a three-year jail term for both falsification and uttering documents.

Interestingly the official went through the vetting exercise by the county assembly without any of the members of the County Assembly detecting the anomaly.

Gitau is one of the prominent businessmen who were behind Governor Kinuthia Mbugua’s campaigns in the last General Election. When the county was still reconstituting its ministers, Mbugua appointed Gitau to act as Executive Committee member for Health besides his Trade portfolio. Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri, who blew the whistle on the officer’s academic qualifications in March, has called for Gitau’s arrest.

Yesterday, Ngunjiri called on the minister to resign. He said he has already written to Director Criminal Investigation to commence formal investigations on the matter.

“I raised the issue and people thought it was mere politicking. Now I am vindicated. I hope the CID will move with speed and act on the matter”.

He said the previous service board and the Governor should take responsibility because they have been slow to act even after raising the issue. Maina said the county government should take responsibility and already they have written to the Governor to take action.

“We are in the age of transparency and the governor cannot ignore letters demanding for action on his minister. He should be sacked,” he said.

Maina said he would soon be recording a statement at the CID over the matter.

“Now that we have all the documents indicating  that Gitau committed a fraud, the law should take its course,” he said.

When contacted on the matter, Gitau, who is on an official trip to Rwanda with the governor, said: “I am away and would not wish to talk to you on phone. I want us to meet and discuss the issue”.