VIDEO: Drama at Maasai Mara University as corrupt Prof Walingo seeks to reclaim office

Prof Joseph Chacha meets Maasai Mara University staff after he was unveiled as the new acting vice-chancellor, a year ago. [Robert Kiplagat, Standard]
There was drama at the Maasai Mara University as reinstated Vice Chancellor Prof Mary Walingo sought to reclaim her office from Prof Joseph S. Chacha.

Guards at the University’s gate, under firm instructions, refused to open the gate for the former VC.

After a minor scuffle, they let Prof Mary Walingo in. Once inside the university, she disembarks from her car and walks to the administration block.


A year ago, Prof Chacha took over from Prof Kitche Magak whose two-year term as acting VC ended.

Prof Magak had been appointed after the suspension of Prof Mary Walingo over corruption.

In a damning dossier that was aired by Citizen TV titled #TheMaraHeist, Prof Walingo was acused of embezzling university funds.

Prof Walingo was accused of looting over Sh200 million through creative accounting.

She was later acquitted of the charges and reinstated back to her office, not by the investigating authorities (DCI, EACC) but by the Public Service Commission (PSC).

The acting Vice Chancellor Prof. Joseph Chacha recently issued a notice warning all staff members not to recognise the reinstated VC, Prof Mary Walingo, or to adhere to any duties she may assign them to do.

“… it has been noted with concern that some members of staff are aiding and abetting Prof.Walingo’s entry into the University, thus interfering with the normal operations of the University. You are notified that such acts border on insubordination of the Office of the Vice-Chancellor and the University Council, and as such, individuals will be held liable for their actions,” Prof. Chacha wrote.

The Mara Heist

Prof Mary Walingo was accused of looting over Sh200 million through creative accounting.

The VC, her driver Noor Abdi, and another staffer Anaclet Okumu withdrew large sums of money from various bank accounts held at different local banks. The three have since denied the charges.

Walingo was sent on compulsory leave, after a whistleblower identified as John and one Spencer Sankale, who had served as the acting finance officer before his demotion in August 2017, exposed ill deals.

The whistleblower worked at Maasai Mara University as the acting finance officer when his colleague fell sick.

Prof. Mary Walingo

He stepped in for Spencer Sankale Ololchike who had been diagnosed with a bone malady condition.
John narrated how by the time he came into the picture, cashiers were withdrawing money in millions of shillings unprodecurally.

He recalled how they would be called by the then vice chancellor’s driver, Noor, to go to write cheques without any authorisation.

John recalled how at one time, he was called and told to prepare cheques for Ksh8 million where he wrote seven to eight cheques of around Ksh900,000.


He added that from the fortune, the vice-chancellor’s driver started changing vehicles and bought one worth Sh3 million. He also built a palatial mansion.

The VC on her part, had a vehicle worth Sh16 million which she used to move from Narok to Nairobi.
John said the driver was on permanent and pensionable terms, adding that when Prof. Walingo came in, the driver was in Grade Four earning about Sh30,000 but by the time of the expose, he was earning about Sh200,000.

“The scheme of service had to be changed to accommodate an executive driver,” the whistleblower said.

He added that what also shocked him was that whenever one would go to the VC’s office, the driver would be there making every deal.

When visitors get in, the driver was the one mediating, advising the VC and it was like he was everything to the VC. It is suspected, the driver was having sex affair with the suspended VC going by the influence he had at the institution. Prof. Walingo multimillion private residence is to be taken by the state.

John blamed the vice-chancellor for the mess, saying she was the chief accounting officer who authorised and approved payments.

He said when withdrawals are made without following procedure they must raise eyebrows.


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On why the banks never raised a red flag on all the activities, John said there was a form that the cashiers would fill while at the bank explaining what the money was for.

They would cheat the money was for university operations, teaching practice or payment of casual workers.

Another reason was that the university had been giving banks fixed deposits on short term so the bank manager would obviously want such business and would not ask many questions.

On whether the theft affected the running of the university, John said at the time there were no drugs in the clinic and in addition there were so many pending claims.

At that time, some part time lecturers had not been paid since 2017.


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Suppliers had also not been paid and they would be told there was no money which affected the university’s operations to a great extent.

On whether he tried to raise these concerns, John said they were being threatened.

He added that the VC had spies everywhere in hotels and one could not even talk for he or she risked being killed, fired or victimised.

He said there was no way the VC or the university could come up with an activity that equals that amount of Sh100 million spent.


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He noted that for one to make withdrawals or write cheques, there must be documentation like LPO or LSO.

In the absence of any other documentation one cannot withdraw.

Staff who resisted were demoted including vocal lecturers.

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