Students at Kamwenja Teachers' College in Nyeri have been conned millions of shillings by staff at the institution in a scheme involving payment of fees.
The finance officers duped students to give them cash in exchange for a fees waiver. Students would then give cash ranging between Sh10,000 to Sh30,000 and get a 'waiver' of Sh52,000 fees balance.
Those conned of the cash are going without meals after they were denied meal cards by the institution over outstanding fees balances.
An accounts clerk at the institution is said to have been behind the operation that has paralysed learning for some of the students.
Enquiries by the Nation revealed that the clerk had been working on acting capacity for the school bursar who was out on paternity leave. This meant he could receive school fees from students and issue receipts.
It was during the ten day period that the clerk is said to have conned students by promising to waiver fees balances if they paid in cash.
According to the school principal Anastasia Mutuku, students are required to pay school fees in form of bank cheques only.
Ms Mutuku, said that suspicion arose when the clerk reported to work and was spotted receiving fees on a Saturday.
“The office does not open on Saturdays but he up showed and this raised eyebrows,” she said.
Investigations by the institution were launched last week unearthing the scam forcing them to call in detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.
The clerk implicated in the scam reportedly took off as soon as he realised that the police had been involved in the investigations.
The school bursar who was on paternity leave has also been named by the DCI as person of interest after he failed to report back to work at the end of his leave.
The school administration confirmed that he was supposed to report Tuesday but failed to.
“He was to come back today because his leave ended yesterday but he has not showed up. His mobile phone has also been switched off,” said Ms Mutuku.
However, students are believed to have been lured into paying cash as the clerk was accepting whatever amount as long as it was in cash form and this way the leaners would save some of the money.
“He would ask students if they have cash however little. He was promising to give receipts for the whole fees balance,” said a student who declined to be named for fear of intimidation.
Even though the third term fee at the institution is Sh52,000, some students paid as little as Sh10,000 and somehow got receipts that indicated that they had paid the full amount. It is however not clear if the receipts issued were authentic ones from the institution were.
Students who fell for the trickery were shocked to be sent them away for full term balances.
“Some just came back last week. Even the money they paid in cash never went into the school account. As far as the school is concerned, they paid nothing,” another student said.
The matter according to findings is said to have been going on for the last two weeks and only came to light a week ago.
A detective privy to the investigations said that several students had been questioned over the matter and samples of the receipts collected.
On Tuesday, students who were duped camped outside the administration block demanding answers from the administration.
They complained that they had been locked out of class and had been denied meals with the institution adamant that they had fees balances and for that they could not be issued with meal cards.
“We have been here all morning while others are in class. We have not even eaten since last week because we do not have meal cards and it appears even the administration does not have a solution,” a student lamented.
The principal however insisted that students were made aware that the school does not accept cash payment.
“Their admission letters have guidelines to them and their parents that the school only accepts bank cheques. No cash payment is accepted,” she said.
The school head and deans at the institution spent the better part of Tuesday in a closed door meeting to plot the way forward.
Police are yet to arrest any suspects as both the bursar and the clerk are on the run.