Finland education scandal: 202 witnesses to testify against Mandago, co-accused

Senator Jackson Mandago (right) at the Nakuru Law Courts on October 2, 2023 for the mention of the Finland saga case.

Photo credit: Boniface Mwangi | Nation Media Group

A total of 202 witnesses have been lined up to testify against Uasin Gishu Senator Jackson Mandago and his co-accused in the Finland education scandal.

A Nakuru court on Monday gave defence 60 days to prepare for trial. 

The senator, Governor Jonathan Bii and deputy governor John Barorot have been accused of bungling the overseas education programme, which has seen hundreds of students fail to travel abroad for studies after paying millions of shillings as school fees through an account held in trust by county government officials. 

The controversial student airlift programme was hatched during Mr Mandago's tenure as Uasin Gishu governor, and he is on record as saying he had no role in the mess, having handed over clean and healthy bank accounts to his successor, Bii.

Under pressure from parents and would-be beneficiaries demanding refunds from the county government, the DCI and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) are investigating the matter and have set up camp in Eldoret to take statements from parents and all concerned.

The Uasin Gishu County government has been accused of failing to remit fees to universities abroad, with some students either not travelling to study or those who did being stranded abroad due to fee arrears.

The EACC reported the recovery of key documents in its ongoing investigation into the alleged loss of over Sh38 million in the Finnish Airlift scandal after its detectives raided the homes of three signatories to the Overseas Education Trust.

The EACC began tracing the over Sh38 million withdrawn by the trust's signatories in March after Mr Bii ordered senior county officials implicated in the loss of funds to step aside pending investigations.