Mara Heist: Who was the brains behind the recording device?
Stanley Yiaile, a registrar at the Maasai Mara University, was approached by one of his colleagues in 2017.
The colleague, Spencer Sankale Ololchike, had damning allegations about top officials siphoning millions of shillings from the university’s bank accounts.
This is Stanley’s account of the Mara Heist:
What is your concern in regards to the way the university is being run?
It stems from a conversation I had with the former acting Finance Officer who called me in 2017. He was disturbed.
He disclosed to me that he had been giving out money in an un-procedural way after requests are made by the Vice Chancellor through some conduit or through an agent.
He told me that now he could not keep doing it. He felt that his education was being wasted. I advised him that if he refuses to give the money then he would not be confirmed.
His family would lose out if he was fired. I asked him for how long had he been doing it? I told him to gather evidence.
How could he prove that these things had been happening. But for now keep quiet as you gather evidence. That is how this concern came about?
Did you take any further action when you got this information?
I didn’t work directly in Finance. I told him not to rush but to gather evidence. We procured some gadgets to record when we give out money.
We also took photographic evidence of the cheques that he was giving. We did not disclose to anyone. We had to hide because we know what happens to whistleblowers.
And for your information the whistleblower for Goldenberg David Munyakei comes from our neighbourhood. I advised Spencer keep quiet until a good opportunity presents itself.
How would you describe the Vice Chancellor?
She was a very good administrator and to us she was God sent. I would not take away her credit where it is due. She transformed the university…salaries and medical bills paid on time.
Two Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) were implemented. She also ensured that long-overdue promotions were implemented until a dramatic change happened around 2016.
What happened in 2016/2017?
That is when the illegal withdrawals began. People could feel it. Staff would go on trips and payments would pile up.
Suppliers also lamented over delayed payments. The issue of medical bills started accumulating.
People were asking: “What is happening? Money is missing?” But for us we knew what was happening.
What is the role of Noor at the university and how have they evolved over time?
He was employed as a driver. He was just a normal kind of guy with a normal lifestyle but from around 2016 there was a paradigm shift. This in terms of lifestyle: in 2015 he bought a small car then he changed to get a bigger car.
Report by Asha Mwilu and Waihiga Mwaura
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