About the ‘Mara Heist’

Kenya’s popular television station, Citizen TV, did an investigative report dubbed ‘The Mara Heist’ in September 2019. The shocking corruption revelations took Kenyans by storm. The story was about the university named after the world-famous Masai Mara National Reserve. It exposed how the university top officials had been robbing the institution of millions of Kenyan shillings.

It was in 2017 that the university’s former acting finance officer, Spencer  Ololchike felt something was not right. This was after the university’s Vice-Chancellor severally requested for money which she received without following the due processes. She made the requests through an agent. When Mr. Ololchike felt that he could no longer be part of the illegal withdrawals, he approached Stanley, the university’s registrar.

Since Stanley never worked directly in the Finance department, he advised his colleague not to make rash decisions. According to him, gathering evidence would be a good move. They then bought gadgets to record when they gave out the money and began to take photographic evidence of the issued cheques. The pair also had to make their plans a secret to protect themselves.

The whistleblowers noticed a lifestyle change in Abdi Noor Hassan, the Vice Chancellor’s driver. He used to take the huge amounts of money from the finance offices to the Vice-Chancellor. This was clear in a clip in the report. Mr. Yiale revealed that Noor had just an ordinary life until 2015 when he bought a car which he later on changed to get a better one.

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Following the expose, detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) visited the university to carry out their investigations. After spending hours in the university, the DCI team said they had collected some serious evidence against the university’s top officials.

“We collected sensitive evidence we had to drive back to base. Now we go through the documents and prepare the suit before handing it to the DPP.”

According to reports, DCI detectives had interrogated the Vice-Chancellor Mary Walingo and other university officials for over 5 hours. The Maasai Mara University corruption scandal had led to the loss of a sum of 190 million Kenyan shillings from the university’s accounts to individual pockets. This was according to audio and videotapes which the whistleblowers made for two years.

Journalists’ efforts to interview Prof. Mary Walingo on the University’s corruption scandal were all in vain. She, however, posted a video on the university’s Facebook page claiming that she had been carrying out her investigations.

The case had four whistleblowers and three of them disclosed that threats for revealing the scandal. They, therefore, applied for witness protection from the state.

The University Council sent Prof. Walingo on compulsory leave. Maasai Mara University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC) in charge of Academic Affairs took over as the acting Vice-Chancellor. Not everyone in the university Management was happy with the appointment of the DVC. A Section of it alleged that the DVC and former Vice-Chancellor were close therefore the DVC would cover up for her.


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