Varsity students lose Sh70m in fees payment scandal

Nearly 1,000 students of Moi University risk not sitting their end of semester examinations after they were swindled of more than Sh70 million in a fees payment scam.

The 982 students of the university’s main campus in Eldoret are suspected to have fallen prey to their colleagues who colluded with accounting officers to perpetrate the fraud.

So far, 189 students have appeared before the students’ disciplinary committee and an official at the finance department said another 793 students had been summoned to present their pay-in slips and receipts after their fees could not be tracked in the university accounts.

The university is insisting that the affected students pay the outstanding fees upfront before they are allowed to sit the end of semester examinations. The students have not being issued with cards for examinations that begin this week.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC) for student affairs Nathan Ogechi said one official had been suspended.

Preliminary investigations revealed that he had some accomplices among students and others who are currently undergoing disciplinary process of the university senate,” Prof Ogechi said.

The scam was unearthed by a whistleblower. The suspended official is said to have had a group of students who would approach their colleagues on the pretence that they had overpaid their fees and needed to transfer the extra amount to another student in exchange for cash.

“I was approached by one of the students who claimed to have paid his fees in excess and he wanted me to give him cash so that the extra amount on his account would be transferred to my name as my fees,” said one of the victims.

On agreeing to the deal she was taken to the accounts office where she was issued with a receipt that was apparently no different from the official one.

The student said she had paid Sh253,000 in fees through the ‘offset’ system for two years in order to avoid the inconvenience of bank queues.

The university insists the students are liable because they did not follow the procedure laid down for payment of fees.

“When students are admitted here, their admission letter clearly states that all the money meant for the institution is paid to the school account at the bank and not to an individual,” said Prof Ogechi.