Talk was rife at University of Nairobi main campus and its subsidiaries last week to the effect that deputy vice-chancellor Academic and Finance Bernard Njoroge had been suspended by the university council for a period of eight months.
As a result of that decision, by late last week, trade unions unhappy with the happenings at the prestigious fountain of knowledge in the country were in deep discussions planning on their next move. He is accused of insurbodination.
It is claimed, a move to suspend Njoroge was reached at during the council recent retreat in Mombasa. Jacob Kaimenyi, then in charge of Education portfolio before being moved to Land ministry was key in pushing for his suspension.
Surprisingly, the council move to discipline Njoroge comes on the heels of claims it is illegally constituted. As a result, its move is likely to land in the corridors of justice on the basis of it being unconstitutional.
In a circular dated July 30 2015 from Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service, Ref. OP/SCAC9/73 Vol. 1 on board appointments states in part: “Appointments of chairpersons and members of the Board of State Corporations is governed by the provisions of both the State Corporations Act Cap 46 and any other enabling legal instruments in most instances, the respective cabinet secretaries, are given the leeway to appoint persons to serve as independent members other than those representing ministries and other public institutions as specified by law.
It is envisaged that under such circumstances, eligible members from private sector and professional bodies would be the ones appointed to bring diversity to the board.
As per now, at the University of Nairobi, the following have been attending council meetings illegally. Priscalia Chepkorir Chuma (Teachers Service Commission) and Fenny Mwakwisha (ministry of Education).
It has since come to the fore that Kaimenyi was well aware of the looming cabinet shuffle and wanted to act on Njoroge before then. The suspension move is said to have divided the council with a section claiming those out to fight corruption were targetted.
Members are even questioning as to why, the suspension bid pushed by Kaimenyi and VC Peter Mbithi, was happening when a parliamentary committee investigating ill happenings at UoN had not tabled its report on the floor of the national assembly.
Surprisingly, Njoroge is accused of approving payment over Sh100,000 without involving Prof Mbithi. Already, there are murmurs from some council members who are asking as to why DVC Henry Mutoro has been spared.
Mutoro on November 25 2015 without involving the office of deputy chancellor A&F approved payment of Sh5.5 million for Sonu retreat held between November 27-29 2015 at a Kisumu hotel.
According to Isaac Mbeche’s internal memo, eight members from the office of deputy vice-chancellor, students’ affairs received subsistence allowances to Kisumu. Those who travelled were Josephine Mutunga, Caroline Imbayi, Edward Ongoncho, Richard Mogaka, Moses Kisilu, Ezekiel Walili, Festus Muthee and James Juma.
The total budget for Sonu and staff was Sh5.5 million and Mutoro approved it. Mbithi had instructed that any payment above Sh100,000 was to be approved by him.
Mbithi has been at loggerheads with his deputy on matters relating to control and award of tenders, irregular procuremens, and uncontrolled expenses through payments of overtime and travel allowances, nepotism and victimisation.
It is imperative to note that the dissolution of the council is in court with even the office of Auditor General challenging the composition.
For now, the university is grinding to a halt with Kaimenyi being blamed for taking sides. Kaimenyi’s move to back the suspension is illegal as the council is not the appointing authority as per university act.
It has since emerged that whereas the VC is the accounting officer and CEO, the DVC A&F is the AIE holder, Mbithi enjoyed the same powers when in the same office as DVC before his elevation.
For now, Prof Mutoro is earmarked to act in the finance position but there are fears he has been fronting for Mbeche to be in charge for time being. The man Mbithi wants to be confirmed is Prof Njeru who came second to Njoroge during the interviews.
Staff we talked to claim the suspension is aimed at covering and destroying sensitive documents implicating senior managers in multi-billion scandals.
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