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How education official stole Sh11m in ghost school scam

A Ministry of Education official “established” a ghost school and allocated it a total of Sh11.13 million meant for the Free Day Secondary Education Initiative.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) on Thursday revealed that Joshua Momanyi Ocharo manipulated the final funds distribution schedules and misleadingly represented the non-existent school as a legitimate beneficiary for a period of two years.

“Momanyi created a ghost school called ‘Mundeku Secondary School,’ purportedly located in Khwisero Sub-County, Kakamega County; fraudulently added its name in the payment records, and always inserted his personal bank account number,” the EACC said.

The payments were made between August 2017 and June 2018, according to EACC.

The ‘school’ that never was, received funds through Momanyi’s personal bank account Equity Bank, Nyamira Branch and as such, Momanyi was the sole beneficiary of the stolen funds.

On October 5, Justice Prof Nixon Sifuna of Milimani High Court’s Division on Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes said Ocharo conceived and executed a fraudulent scheme that led to embezzlement of public funds to the tune of Sh11,131,305.

As a Clerical Officer in the Department of Secondary School Education, Momanyi was charged with the responsibility of preparing Funds Distribution Schedule for Free Day Secondary Schools Education (FDSE).

He was specifically charged with data entry from data capture forms submitted by the Sub-County Directors of Education.

The EACC also focused on the recovery of Sh9,231,305.53, which had been unlawfully deposited into his personal bank account as a result of the fraudulent activities.

“A sum of Sh1,900,000 was relinquished by Ken Carz Limited, which represented a portion of the amount Momanyi had paid towards the purchase of a Toyota Vanguard vehicle,” EACC said.

The investigations by EACC established after receiving the Sh11 million, Momanyi transferred Sh3.4 million to his Kenya Commercial Bank, Kakamega Branch.

EACC further established that Momanyi bought a land worth Sh830,000 which was later registered in his name and a title deed was issued.

He also bought another land in Mavoko valued at 980,000 which was also registered in his name.

Momanyi also bought a motor vehicle make Toyota Vanguard Registration Number KCP 186L and paid Sh2.35 million, being part of the purchase price. However, the seller later repossessed the car and surrendered Sh1.9 million.

Justice Sifuna also ordered that the land parcels were proceeds of crime having been purchased with stolen public funds, and therefore liable for forfeiture to the Government of Kenya.

He was also directed to pay Sh7.42 million the amount that he retained after the purchase of the above parcels of land.

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