Loans board hires prosecutors to pursue defaulters
Posted Sunday, February 17 2013 at 17:48
- The team will help the Higher Education Loans Board track down and prosecute graduates who owe the revolving fund about Sh8 billion in unpaid loans.
- The 83,543 defaulters owed the board a total of Sh8 billion at the end of December 2012.
- Helb has disbursed Sh38 billion to about 360,000 beneficiaries since inception and has recovered a total of Sh5.8 billion from 65,913 graduates.
The quest to recover billions of shillings that university graduates owe the government intensified last Friday with the appointment of a 13-member team to investigate and prosecute loan defaulters.
The team members, whose names were published in the official Kenya Gazette, will help the Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) track down and prosecute graduates who owe the revolving fund about Sh8 billion in unpaid loans.
Helb said on Friday that the team appointed by the Director of Prosecutions, Keriako Tobiko, will mainly pursue 83,543 loan defaulters who have not responded to repeated warnings to pay up.
“The prosecutors will also go after employers who have failed to notify the board of employees who are not servicing their loans,” said Victor Lomaria, the head of operations at Helb.
Mr Lomaria said the board had decided to seek prosecution powers as a last resort after thousands of defaulters failed to respond to punitive measures such as the imposition of a monthly fine of Sh5,000.
“We have had to resort to legal action because many people are not taking their loan repayment obligations seriously,” he said.
The 83,543 defaulters owed the board a total of Sh8 billion at the end of December 2012.
Members of the team appointed by Mr Tobiko have been trained in investigation and prosecution procedures, including a three-month course at the Criminal Investigations Department.
They include Esther Michieka, Joseph Ndegwa, Geoffrey Monari, Michael Lelampaa, Peter Ngega and Naftali Michira. Others are Antony Ogola, Rachael Kipkech, Paul Olang, Robi Bocha, Claude Mukindi, Alice Ayonga and Bernadette Masinde.
Mr Lomaria said the specialised nature of the cases required individuals with inside knowledge of Helb operations and prosecution skills.
Helb has disbursed Sh38 billion to about 360,000 beneficiaries since inception and has recovered a total of Sh5.8 billion or 15.2 per cent of the total from 65,913 graduates.
Some 95,909 beneficiaries are servicing Sh13 billion worth of loans.
The balance of Sh4 billion is in the form of loans that have not matured, including money lent to 116,300 students this year, 102,000 in 2012, 80,000 in 2011 and 72,000 in 2010.
Undergraduate students get between Sh35,000 and Sh60,000 from Helb.