A University of Nairobi (UoN) lecturer Vincent Mbindo Kathumo, will either serve a three-year-sentence or pay a fine of Sh150,000 for asking a student to pay a bribe.
The lecturer, who works in the Land Resource Management and Agriculture Technology (LARMAT) department, told Duncan Kibet to pay Sh5,000 due to an exam irregularity.
Dr Kathumo saw Kibet’s phone in his pocket and he confiscated it together with his exam sheet on December 21, 2016. Kibet and 20 of his classmates were chased out of the exam room and told they would 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,” Kibet recalls.
The lecturer called Kibet on January 17, 2017, and invited him for a meeting in his office the next day. In that meeting, DrKathumo told Kibet to give him Sh2,000 to seek for forgiveness and Sh3,000 to enable him to re-sit the exam.
Because Kibet could not afford that money, he asked his father to give him the Sh5,000. The father reported the incident to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor who told them to report the matter to the Central Police Station. They were then directed to the EACC.
Things went awry when Dr Kathumo called when Kibet was at the EACC offices.
“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.
After receiving the money, Dr Kathumo awarded Kibet his marks.
Dr Kathumo was found guilty by an anti-corruption court magistrate Lawrence Mugambi. He was offered a three-year-sentence or Sh150,000 fine.
“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,” Justice Mumbi Ngugi added.
To defend himself, Dr Kathumo revealed that he offered gave the money to a needy person.