Kenya’s fastest growing private higher education institution Mt. Kenya University (MKU) is embroiled in a legal tussle with a US-based “film-maker” who turned out to be a conman.
It is the story of an innovative university, gearing to power the new professionals in Africa’s film and movie industry, that got almost outsmarted by a smartly dressed, bearded cameroonian immigrant living in the United States.
It is also the story of functioning internal institutions, for had MKU been Moi or Maseno, or the National Youth Service, Yves Tchuota would be living off luxuriously after a meticulously pulled scam. It did not go through.
Yves Tchouta, based in Atlanta city of the US State of Georgia, tried to swindle MKU millions of shillings while posing as a film investor willing to partner with MKU in making commercial films for MKU’s Institute of Creative, Film, and Performing Arts.
MKU, founded by entrepreneur Dr. Simon Gicharu is the largest privately owned higher education institution with a student population in excess of 52,000. It has campuses in all major Kenyan towns, in Rwanda and Somalia, where its Hargeisa Campus is one of the best institutions in the restive country.
The university busted Tchouta when it sent officials to the US to ascertain the man’s business background. It is then that the university realized the man was merely a local club promoter.
“He came with an idea to partner with MKU to produce a movie called Last Result. We thought the idea was good. However, the university policy states that due diligence must be done before entering into such a deal. It is only after visiting him in Atlanta, USA that we discovered he is a fraud,” said a source at MKU.
It is also now emerging that the man had approached another private university, the Aga Khan University, to pitch for the same idea which was also rejected.
In the suit papers, MKU wants the man to prosecuted for uttering false documents and misleading the institution which led to loss of money.
The University argues the man knew throughout the whole process that he was unable to meet the ends of the contract and was therefore attempting to extort money from the university through false pretense.
In an ongoing case in the US, Tchouta admitted that he no office and employees and was just a local club promoter, shocking even his legal representatives.
MKU is pursuing the case both in Kenya and the US, relentlessly.