A University of Nairobi (UoN) lecturer has been sentenced to three years in jail or pay a Sh150,000 fine for soliciting a bribe from a student.
Vincent Mbindo Kathumo, a lecturer in the Department of Land Resource Management and Agriculture Technology (LARMAT) specialising in Soil Science, Remote Sensing and Geo-Information Systems, asked Duncan Kibet for a Sh3,000 bribe over an examination irregularity.
Then a student at the Upper Kabete campus, Kibet told the court that he was sitting for an exam in Land Forms and Soil Formation on December 21, 2016, when the incident happened.
He said that Dr Kathumo spotted his phone in his pocket and immediately confiscated it and his exam paper.
Kibet and 20 others were kicked out of the exam room and told to prepare to re-sit the exam the next year.
“He confiscated my phone and the exam paper and asked me to leave the room. I was joined by around 20 students who had also been found with phones. After the exam, he took our numbers, returned our phones and told us to prepare to re-sit the exam in January 2017,” said Kibet, adding that his phone was switched off.
On January 17, 2017, Kibet received a call from the lecturer who asked to meet him the next day at his office. During the meeting, Dr Kathumo asked for Sh2,000 for forgiveness and some Sh3,000 to assist him re-sit the exam.
Kibet later called his father to let him know that the lecturer wanted Sh5,000. They reported the matter to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, who advised them to report at Central Police Station. They were then referred to EACC.
While at the EACC, the lecturer called asking why he was taking too long to send the money.
“I then put our conversation on the loudspeaker and recorded everything in the presence of the EACC investigator. Dr Kathuno instructed that I send him Sh3,000 and pay the balance later,” Kibet said.
Shortly after sending the money, Kibet confirmed that the lecturer had awarded him the marks.
Anti-Corruption court magistrate Lawrence Mugambi found him guilty and sentenced him to three years or a fine of Sh150,000.
Justice Mumbi Ngugi upheld the conviction saying, “This case demonstrates the dismal moral chasm into which we have fallen as a society. He is a lecturer holding a position of authority and responsibility to open the minds of his students, but has abused his position to intimidate and receive bribes from the students.”
In his defense, Dr Kathumo said he donated the money to a needy person.