‘Ng’ombe yetu iwekee nyasi,’ Coded words used to disguise the Mara heist


'Ng'ombe yetu iwekee nyasi,' Coded words used to disguise the Mara heist

“Hata hii ng’ombe ingine ilisema, inataka nyasi…Nani huyo?…Hii ng’ombe hii…hii ng’ombe yetu nono hii. Inasema uiwekee nyasi inaskia njaa. Uko wapi? Ninakuja kutoka town. Oh. Unakuja university? Wewe fanya hivi. Nyasi ngapi unaweza pata…kiasi ngapi? Unaweza pata bundle mbili na nusu? Bundle mbili na nusu? Wacha nione.”

This was the coded language used at the Maasai Mara University in Narok where top officials looted millions of shillings.

Spencer Sankale Ololchike, a senior accountant at the institution, revealed that he gathered evidence of the Mara heist using a phone recorder and a watch.

Below are the excerpts from his interview:

Can you explain to us what Hii ngombe yetu hii…inaskia njaa…weka nyasi…means?

The context here is that the VC is lacking in money so we should do something so that the VC is satisfied with the amount. And the specific here is Ksh. 250,000.

There is a clip where you were being told to go to Narok. 17th April 2018. Noor had called you. VC needs the money by 9am. Why were they calling you to travel.

I was in Nairobi. They wanted me to go back to Narok to prepare the cheques. I don’t carry the office with me.

I have a bone condition so that period it was exacerbated by the cold weather. I began having back pain and was also straining. I began some therapy at Nairobi hospital.

Tell us about the video recordings. There is one video of 2 people putting money in their pockets. What was going on?

It was the university cashier and the VC’s driver. He was picking money at the Co-operative bank of Kenya, Narok branch. That is why he was stuffing the money in his pockets.

It was not explained to us what the money was for. At times he would follow us but I think he also got suspicious. He would pick any vehicles at the university.

At times he would come with his own vehicle. Previously he would follow the cashiers to the bank physically. But when the money ballooned he would wait at the parking lot and it was brought in gunny bags.

What about the videos in the vehicles. What was happening there?

I would try to record as much as possible but wind and noise would affect the quality of the videos. That is when the amounts began to balloon. He would be sitting in the car waiting for the money.

We also saw someone going into a shop with a brown envelope. What was going on there?

That brown envelope. The VC had left having signed the cheques. I followed them and they were not aware that I was recording. The VC had signed the cheques and left to Nairobi.

The cashier and I went to the bank. When we called him and told him we had the money he told us to take it to a shop near a petrol station. When we went there I met two gentlemen and he gave them the money. I recorded them talking to him.

We also see a video of Ksh. 300,000 for the auditor general’s office. What was that about?

As you can see the money by then was a bit conservative. That gentleman had come to my office and I was recording because I knew we had spoken. He came at 8pm.

He said the VC had already paid somebody Ksh. 300,000 to get a favourable report from the Auditor General’s office and she needed the refund.

We also see a video of Noor and VC. What were they talking about?

There are several instances where I would record when I found these two talking about how they are really helping the university, not sleeping, travelling odd hours etc.

One instance they were bragging about how they had travelled form Narok to go and meet a PS at Treasury very late at night and they were describing how they had gotten to use the PS private lift.

Noor had known how to manoeuvre around and they met them at those odd hours. They were just telling us how they really work hard for the university.

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Story By Waihiga Mwaura And Asha Mwilu
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