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Posted by African Press International on August 9, 2018

By Dickens Wasonga.

The Vice Chancellor of the debt riddled Great Lakes University of Kisumu Prof Amadi Otieno has denied various claims that paint her as having run down the struggling institution.

Addressing journalists from various media houses during a hurriedly convened press conference to clear her name over several allegations leveled against her , the VC told reporters that she cant take blame for the woes facing the university which she” merely inherited” from the past regime.

However, the VC appeared to have confirmed some of the allegations against the u8niversity administration under her watch. For example , it became clear that the institution was overwhelmed by its huge debts and even payment of staff salaries was becoming a nightmare to it .

Prof Amadi confirmed to journalists that they were behind, in salary payments to all the university staff although she attributed it to what she termed as factors beyond the administration’s ability.

She listed these factors as , inherited past challenges such as the Kenya Revenue Authority’s debt which is more than Ksh 95 million, Chase bank’s loans which she estimated at 240 million and staff salary arrears of over Ksh 60 million .

In her own admission to members of the press who turned up for her briefing , Prof Amadi said the University had six months of unpaid salaries and they have been struggling to pay staff salaries.

” This is due to the huge debt burden which has seen employees of all cadres earn half salaries”.

The University and KRA are embroiled in a terse legal battle over the tax arrears which it accumulated over the years forcing the tax man to freeze all the accounts of the university twice although the administration indicated that they are in talks with the KRA to have the issue discussed and agreed upon outside the courts.

” When I joined GLUK in March 2016 , I found a struggling institution which had accumulated huge debts including salary arrears to its staff, unpaid bills owed to suppliers and tax arrears . Within three months of my tenure , i reached out to KRA Kisumu domestic Tax Department with a view to meeting its officers to work out plan for paying the arrears . After an operation audit of the university by KRA between July 2016 and March 2017 , it as established that we owed KRA 117,727,989 shillings ” Said Prof Amadi.

The sum , according to the VC comprised Ksh 116, 798,084 and Ksh 929,906 being Pay as You Eran and Withholding Tax.

GLUK failed to honor the plan that they had discussed with the tax man and towards the end of 2017 , KRA froze all the university accounts .

But after paying 10 million sometime in November last year, and after committing to pay 10 million every semester until it clears its arrears, KRA Nairobi office wrote to the university’s bankers on November 30th 2017 suspending their appointment as agents of the authority for purpose of recovery of the said Ksh 117, 727,989 arrears owed to KRA.

The university accounts were thus unfrozen.

But this reprieve was short-lived when the tax man yet again froze the GLUK’S accounts about three months ago.

This time, angered by the move to freeze the accounts, the university management took KRA to court and the matter is still pending determination .

Prof Amadi the VC is not only battling the Tax man, and the accumulated debts owed to suppliers and the staff salary arrears headache.

During the conference the VC also had to respond to claims that she was the one supplying and running the university cafeteria and that she had allegedly hired out her personal car to the university which she uses to travel in and outside the country but allegedly bills the university, thus occasioning possible of conflict of interest.

Prof Amadi said she had nothing to do with the operations of the said cafeteria.

She revealed that ‘TICH NAM ‘ Enterprise which offers cafeteria services at GLUK is not operated by the university and is a registered business entity which makes its own independent decisions without involving her.

She also sought to clarify that the university policy provides that, when on official trip, she is entitled to daily allowance of Ksh.15,000 for local travel, and Ksh 35,000 for international travels.

The issue came up following her visit to Tanzania where she traveled to Dar salaam for three days workshop early last month.

Her accusers, alleged that the VC used her personal car a KBU 636Q which she allegedly hired to the university at the rate of Ksh 3000 per day for 14 days.

But the VC said she was only in Tanzania between the 4th of July and 7th July 2018 and the university management discussed and it was agreed the it hires a vehicle contrary to traditional travel by Air .

The vehicle, (not hers), was hired at Ksh 14,000 per day for four days which according to the VC was a cheaper option compared to Ksh 135,000 if she was to travel by air.

But there is another twist to this transport and university car saga at GLUK.

In March 2017 , the VC claims that four of the university vehicles , were allegedly taken,”illegally” to Bishop Okullu College , a college which according to her, is no-longer associated with the university, by a group she describes as an imposter management who took charge when the legitimate VC was illegally dismissed on 10th March this year.

Prof Amadi said that one of these vehicles , was designated to her , and as a result , the university Senate endorsed the hiring of the VC’s personal vehicle registration number KBU636 Q to support her office for official duties .

Further, it was resolved that the university pay Ksh 100,000 per month for use of the said vehicle which she personally owns.

We established that the university has since moved to court to claim the four vehicles and to further seek compensation for the loss the university has incurred for lack of putting into use the said vehicles , which according to the VC has continued to be inaccessible to the university.

Amadi also refuted claims that she arbitrarily fire staff and allegedly replaces them with her cronies and that so far 150 staff members had been allegedly fired.

”Arbitrary dismissal of staff is untrue . Staff reduction issues are guided by specific policy guidelines , drawn from the CUE Audit report of Dec 2017, The governing council recommendations ,2017 ,the university management board decisions ,senate decisions ,among others relevant processes guiding personnel management .” She said.

Problems at GLUK are hurting the students as well. For example, the university has allegedly have had to postpone its graduation ceremony on three occasions this year. This, according to a student who was expecting to graduate, has complicated matters for many.


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