A publishing firm director arrested by Kakamega Police over extortion claims
Written by John Kabaka
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Worldlink Publishers Director Edward Okinda refunds the money to teachers after Kakamega Knut officials stormed the meeting and demanded so.They had termed a workshop convened by the publishers as illegal. [Photos | John Kabaka | West Fm]
A director of a publishing firm was picked up for questioning by police in Kakamega over complaints of extortion by primary school head teachers attending an education workshop to enhance their management and technical skills.
The officer Edward Okinda of World Link was picked up by police officers led by the Kakamega OCS over claims by the Kenya National Union of Teachers that the workshop was a fraud scheme hatched by a section of county officials of the Kenya Primary School Heads Association (Kepsha), the Teacher’s Service Commission and the firm- World Link.
The police arrived shortly after the firm yielded to demands by Knut that head teachers be refunded the Sh1, 000 paid to attend the workshop, and declared the meeting illegal and ordered everyone to disperse even as the refund exercise was going on.
Knut stormed the workshop convened at the Kakamega Social Hall and attended by estimated 750 head teachers and declared the seminar illegal shortly after the session began contesting the Sh1, 000 levied to each head as a fraud.
Kakamega County Knut secretary general John Wesonga addresses teachers when the union stormed the meeting. They claimed the teachers were being extorted.
Knut county officials John Wesonga and Patrick Chungani accused the firm, the TSC, Kakamega County Coordinator Janet Onyango and a section of the local chapter of the Kepsha officials of the fraud.
According to details availed to the press by Okinda, the workshop was approved through a letter from Onyango. Head teachers were apart from receiving two books for a teacher and pupil would be served lunch all at a cost of Sh1, 000.
The funds were to be drawn from the school's quality assurance vote head according to the Kakamega County Kepsha chairman David Ikunza who was reportedly at the centre of the planning of the workshop.
His colleagues at Kepsha however, publicly disowned him saying they were not involved.
Responding to reports that his was a phantom firm used to fleece teachers, Okinda said he was doing genuine business with the ministry of education over the past twenty years, had successfully held workshop across the country including: Nairobi, Kericho, Migori, Busia and another scheduled for Friday in Vihiga county.
“This is cheap politicking by people who do not understand anything. The books we provide are not for free, they are meant to improve the approach of head teachers and the candidates at the exams,” Okinda said signs of trouble began on Tuesday evening after Wesonga called to declare the meeting cancelled.
“He told me that the meeting is cancelled and when I sought a meeting to iron out any sticky issues he declined, but insisted that should we proceed with the workshop he would storm-in and stop it,” He explained.
The incident according to the some teachers is an extension of the rivalry between the Kepsha and the knut over management of education affairs and particularly schools. Knut is considering Kepsha as its biggest rival after Kuppet.