A public university has lost more than Sh100 million in fees fraud involving students and admission officers.
At least 565 students and an unknown number of staff have so far been implicated in on-going investigations at Moi University in Eldoret, the Nation has established.
In the racket, the officers enrol and issue registration numbers to privately-sponsored students under regular or so-called “mature” programmes that pay less fees.
Normally, a self-sponsored student pays Sh120,000 per year while regular ones pay a subsidised amount of Sh30,000.
However, through the fraudulent registration, the privately-sponsored students, commonly referred to as PSSP or parallel students, end up paying as little as the government-sponsored ones.
This means that the university has been losing close to Sh90,000 per student.
DELETED FROM GRADUATION LIST
It is not clear at this stage how the admission staff and the affected students share the spoils.
The vice-chancellor, Prof Richard Mibey, said the university has so far lost Sh101.7 million in the scam.
However, other sources in the institution aware of the scandal but who asked not to be quoted because of the nature of the investigations said the amount could be as much as Sh800 million.
“Provisional results indicate that 565 students were involved in the malpractice leading to a fee deficit of Sh101 million,” Prof Mibey said in response to the Nation inquiry.
“Investigations are ongoing and the number of students and amount of money involved will be known.”
The VC noted that students due to graduate this December but implicated in the scandal will not be part of the ceremony until investigations are complete.
Those who were to graduate last month were deleted from the graduation list pending full investigation.
Prof Mibey said the students will be invoiced again and those who may have graduated will not be issued with certificates until payment is made.
“The university will ensure that the full amount of fees is paid and a repeat of the fraud stopped through tight student finance systems.”
“There are records of students and the university will go to the full length to ensure fees is paid in full.”
Following this fraud, the university has also abolished the mature entry programmes.
The scheme was used to give applicants with work experience, orphans and those from arid areas an opportunity to further their studies after satisfying the panel on qualifications required.
Their fees was highly subsidised because it was seen as part of the institution helping the community.
Moi University was hit by another scandal of students presenting fake pay-in bank slips to finance officers and being issued with a clearance receipt four years ago.
Students found to have submitted the fake pay-in-slips had their school fees accounts reversed.
Former university’s chief academic officer, Prof J. K. ole Karei, then said the fraud cases ended when the university reviewed its policy for paying fees.
“It was agreed that students would only be issued with university receipts to acknowledge payment of fees after we received a bank statement indicating the fees they paid was deposited in the university account,” Prof ole Karei had said.
FULL FORCE OF LAW
The amount the institution had lost before sealing the loophole could not be determined.
The Education Principal Secretary, Dr Belio Kipsang, asked for the full force of the law to be applied to those guilty of the fraud.
The institution has a student population of 46,000 and was the second public university to be founded in Kenya in 1984 after the University of Nairobi.