Besieged Kenya Methodist University (KeMU) Vice-Chancellor Henry Kiriamiti on Monday said he was forced out of the institution because he blocked a Sh4 billion loan plan.
The university sent him on compulsory leave last week citing “non-performance”
Prof Kiriamiti said he rejected the Sh4 billion plan by the university Council chaired by Charles Mbui as “it was non-viable and risks plunging the institution into bankruptcy”.
On Monday, the Commission for University Education (CUE) intervened in the crisis.
“We are addressing the challenges at the institution through normal advisory. We will ensure that we get a solution to this crisis,” said CUE Chairman Prof Chacha Nyaigoti.
Prof Kiriamiti proceeded on forced leave after being directed by the university council chairman in a letter dated July 17.
“The process of removing me started in February after I refused to support the proposal to acquire the restructuring loan.
My fear is that the university might be unable to repay the loan and be auctioned,” he said.
The university owes suppliers and part-time lecturers up to Sh1.7 billion, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Sh400 million as well as an up-to-date bank loan of more than Sh1 billion, all said to be accrued between 2009 and 2014.
Prof Kiriamiti said a plan to clear some of the debts and loans through sale of assets was overturned after the council introduced a proposal to acquire the loan for development of the university’s idle land early this year.
This is despite an earlier commitment by the university to KRA that it would sell two plots in Nairobi to settle the Sh400 million PAYE arrears.
The delay in paying the arrears led to freezing of the university’s accounts last month before the management sought reprieve from KRA.
KRA lifted the freeze on condition that the university remains current on its monthly payments and repayments, clears the arrears before November 30, 2017 and submits a ‘legal undertaking’ to pay the money once the properties are sold.
The council had earlier on July 7 written to the VC indicating that he had not attained performance targets.
He was required to file a written explanation within seven days ‘to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against him’.
On Monday, he faulted the council for failing to take into consideration his response before making the decision.
Prof Kiriamiti was appointed the VC in June 2015 replacing Prof Alfred Mutema, whose term was terminated under unclear circumstances in February 2015.