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Parents demand millions over aborted study programme

The controversial study programme deals between the Uasin Gishu county government, Finland, and Canadian institutions took a twist after angry parents and students stormed the Uasin Gishu county offices, demanding a refund of school fees following the aborted study programmes.

They are demanding reimbursement of over Sh300 million for the aborted students’ education programmes in Finland and Canada.

The county government has been blamed for the non-remittance of fees to universities in the foreign country, with some students either failing to travel to study or those who travelled being stranded at some point in foreign countries due to fee arrears.

The Uasin Gishu county governor, Jonathan Bii, while addressing the press over the matter, noted that there are 22 students destined for Finland and 103 for Canadian universities who have not received placement letters yet they have paid fees for one semester.

The county government has been criticised for the mess that allegedly involved senior county officials embezzling millions of shillings intended for students.

“I received a petition from parents to look into the overseas training programme that was ongoing. Initially,  I addressed this matter internally, but the preliminary report that I received indicated that this programme was managed by an independent trust known as Uasin Gishu Overseas Education Trust and not the county government,” he revealed.

“On December 9, 2022, I formed a task force to look into the matter and the mandate of the task force was to review the performance of the programme and finally make recommendations going forward,” he said.

He noted that the account, which was used to receive payment on fees, accommodation, flight charges, and other incidentals for students registered to enrol at Finnish and Canadian institutions, was managed by signatories who were members of the trust, and the county government was not in control of the account.

“At the time of the formation of the task force, it was found that the trust was still collecting funds into the account and when this revelation was brought to my attention in February this year, the task force immediately advised parents to stop any kind of deposit into that account,” Bii said.

He urged parents and students to be patient as they addressed the matter, noting that the scholarship programme was started under the administration of his predecessor, Jackson Mandago.

He confirmed that in his ten months of leadership, no recruitment or admission of new students has taken place.

“This preceded my request to Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to look into the matter and avail itself of its recommendation. The investigation is still ongoing,” Bii noted.

By Judy Too

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