Maasai Mara ex-VC linked to graft drops case fighting her sacking

Professor Mary Walingo, the former Vice-Chancellor of Maasai Mara University.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Former Maasai Mara University vice-chancellor Mary Walingo has withdrawn a case challenging her dismissal.

Ms Walingo, who is facing 10 corruption-related charges and misappropriation of public funds, had sought about Sh7.5 million in compensation and damages for what she claimed was unlawful interdiction, suspension and termination of her employment.

But she filed a notice on June 16 informing the court of her intention to drop the case, citing hearings delays.

Justice David Nderitu allowed the application and marked the file as closed despite protests from the university and its council, who claimed they were not consulted.

Through lawyer Kahiga Waitindi, the university told the court that it filed a counterclaim against the petition that they wanted heard before the case could be withdrawn.

Mr Waitindi claimed Prof Walingo’s notice was premature and suspicious as it was done quickly, denying the university time to respond.

But Justice Nderitu said the university was free to follow up on the case.

“The parties are free to file any applications before the trial judge. For now, the case is marked as withdrawn,” ruled Justice Nderitu.

In her petition Prof Walingo wanted the university to pay her Sh4,788,152, as special damages, salaries and other dues that she said were unlawfully withheld from May 2020 to August 2020.

She also sought general damages for stress, anguish and trauma that she said she was put through by unfair administrative action. She wanted the court to compel the university to continue paying her a basic salary of Sh372,039 and allowances of Sh811,000 and Sh1,183,039.

Prof Walingo, whose appointment in 2018 to the helm of the university was reaffirmed by the council, claimed she went on a 90-day leave from September 10, 2019 to January 22, 2020 but was blocked from resuming her duties upon her return.

The council allegedly extended her leave by another 30 days before she was interdicted on May 12, 2020.

She was arrested on August 26, 2020 and charged with misappropriating Sh177 million in university funds.

Prof Walingo was charged alongside a former deputy VC for administration, finance and planning, former acting deputy VC for academic and student affairs, former head of finance and her driver with various counts relating to abuse of office, theft and mismanagement of public funds.

The case is still pending in court.