The embattled University of Nairobi vice chancellor Peter Mbithi was last week set to appear before the Parliamentary Education Committee but failed only to request to appear on Thursday this week.
The VC pleaded with the committee chair Sabina Chege and vice-chairman Julius Melly to reschedule the meeting with claims that he had a tight schedule but sources say the VC played a trick to have more time to assemble his troops to reach out to the 29 committee members so that they can have a soft spot for him when he appears before them.
Last week, he was allegedly overheard bragging to his allies that he has set aside Sh7m to line the pockets of the committee members so that they can write a positive report that will also give him a clean bill of health.
To reach out to the committee members, Mbithi has recruited the services of Makueni MP Dan Maanzo who is said to be doing the ground work for him. As he allegedly plans to bribe the committee members, sources claim he has been working late hours destroying crucial and sensitive documents to seal loopholes that could lead to his downfall.
Last week, during a highly charged senate meeting, Martin Oloo from the political science department is said to have taken him head-on demanding explanations from the VC on the state of the affairs at the university and the negative publicity UoN has been receiving both in the local and international media.
According to sources which attended the meeting, Mbithi was at pains to explain the reasons behind the management crisis as well as the murky power struggle between him and the deputy VC administration and finance Bernard Njoroge. Last week, Njoroge told to parliamentary committee that Mbithi has usurped his responsibilities and has always insubordinated his office.
Njoroge who had appeared before the education committee revealed how Mbithi has issued new guidelines where all expenditure above Sh100,000 can only be approved by him and has also moved performance contracting to his office.
Back at the senate, Mbithi was also at pains to explain why he sacked officers from one community and favoring his on tribesmen. The issue of influencing happeningsat the Pensions Fund after his team lost to George Maghoha also emeged.
As the meeting got stormy, Mbithi abruptly ended it. But one thing that is now haunting Mbithi is the Sh10m used on furnishing his residential house along Mandera Road.
Mbithi is accused of approving the budget for the furnishing of his own residential house while still the DVC finance and admnistration. Documents in our possession reveal that Mbithi approved the budget on December 19 2014 on a letter signed by the then acting estate manager Lucy Gachara dated December 18 2014 (ref.UON/CA/EST/4857/40(30).
The letter reads in part: “We hereby seek your approval; for the furnishing of the VC’s official residence located along Mandera Road, in readiness for occupation in January 2015. The items to procure include kitchen appliances, carpets, cutlery and furniture”.
Another letter dated January 12 2015 from JM Mokaya to the procurement manager (ref.UON/CA/PROC/3/10/VOL.LL) reads “Further consultations between Procurement and Finance has revealed that the combined expenditure on the above item was above the threshold of the procurement committee. Consequently, it has been referred to the tender committee for adjudication. Please arrange to nullify the approvals you made in the next central administrative procurement committee meeting”. However it never happened. We have information, human rights activists are planning to forward the said documents to Ethics Anti-Corruption Commission to act failure to which they will institute private criminal proceedings against Mbithi and those involved in the scam. The costs of the assorted items for the VC’s house are contained in a memo dated January 19 2015 from the estates manager to the procurement manager (ref.UON/CA/EST/5/5/54. The budget was also approved on January 9 2015 by Fredrick Kachero (chairman), Tracisio Thuita and Jacinta Muthoki (secretary).
Under furniture, two pieces of 7-seater fabric sofa set L shaped at Sh400,000, one lazy chair at Sh30,000, one set 7-seater fabric sofa set L shaped at Sh200,000, one leather recliner seat at Sh50,000, high back seat for Sh150,000, four reading chairs, Sh60,000 and 5- seater fabric sofa set, Sh150,000.
On tables were five coffee tables with two side stools, Sh100,000, three console tables, Sh90,000, one dining table with eight chairs Sh200,000, one dining table with six chairs, Sh150,000, six dressing tables Sh360,000, one centre table with two armchairs at Sh50,000, four reading tables, Sh80,000, and one office desk single pedestal, Sh15,000.
On cabinets, four side cabinets, Sh100,000, two entertainment units, Sh50,000 and four display cabinets, Sh150,000. The VC was also bought a 6X6 executive bed king size hard wood at Sh180,000 and four pieces of bedside cabinets at Sh75,000.
Also in the list are five pieces of double beds of 4X6 hard wood, Sh300,000 and another small bed of 3.5X6 at Sh20,000. A 6X6 double mattress at Sh60,000, five 4X6 mattresses, Sh40,000, 14 pieces of pillow at Sh14,000 and chest of drawers, Sh40,000.
Under TV and TV accessories, a 60” LED Digital Tv, Sh250,000, one 48” Full HD Digital TV, Sh100,000, two 32” full HD digital cables, Sh50,000 and four pieces of TV aerials, Sh8,000.
One deep freezer, Sh30,000, one fridge 20 Cu Ft, Sh80,000, one fridge 17 Cu Ft, Sh50,000, seven pieces of water dispensers (hot and cold) with cooling cabinet, Sh140,000, cookers, ovens and accessories, Sh150,000, three pieces of gas cylinder with gas, hose pipe and regulator Sh25,000, one microwave oven Sh40,000, washing machines and laundry accessories, Sh125,000 and curtains, curtain accessories and carpets, Sh150,000.
Questions are being asked as to whether a three-bedroomed house can accommodate all the above property.
To conceal the exaggerated cost of the items, the purchases were split and done under authority to incur expenditure. The first purchase was done on December 23 2014 of Sh251,000 and purchases done from Odds and Ends through Evans Ochuru (messenger).
On the same date, another purchase was done from Odds and Ends of Sh473,000 by the same Ochuru and another purchase of Sh69,995 from Furniture Palace and another same day purchase of Sh225,000 (Odds and Ends), 61,994 (Victoria Courts Trading Ltd), Sh117,794 (Victoria Courts Trading Ltd), Sh443,970 (Furniture Palace Ltd), Sh114,990 (Furniture Palace Ltd), Sh49,995 (Furniture Palace Ltd), Sh13,294 (Victoria Courts Trading Ltd), Sh186,000 (Odds and Ends), Sh49,995 (Furniture Elegance), Sh6,095 (Victoria Courts Trading Ltd) and Sh108,000 (Odds and Ends).
Other authority to incur expenditure were signed on March 2015 was that of Sh394,950 from Furniture Elegance.
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