Former Technical University of Mombasa (TUM) Vice-Chancellor Josphat Mwatela on Wednesday claimed he was suspended months after declining Higher Education Principal Secretary Collette Suda’s directive that he influence the award of multi-million shilling tenders.
Prof Suda allegedly sent a Dr Kibet Langat to his office on September 10, 2014 to convey her request, Prof Mwatela told Justice Onesmus Makau of the Industrial Court in Mombasa.
The tenders were for the construction of three training institutes in Lunga Lunga and Kinango constituencies in Kwale County and Bura constituency in Tana River County financed by the education ministry.
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Prof Mwatela further alleged that his boss had wanted Dr Langat’s firm awarded one or two tenders for the construction of the institutes.
“On September 6, 2014, I received a phone call from her expressing her interest and she told me that she would send someone over to my office. I told her to send that person on September 10 at 10am,” he claimed.
“On that day Dr Langat came to my office and told me about the tenders. I told him to submit his application, but informed him that there were tendering procedures that had to be followed,”
Attempts by the university’s lawyer, Mr Paul Munyao, and State Counsel Charles Mutua for the Education Cabinet Secretary and Principal Secretary objecting to the claims, were disallowed by the judge.
The judge ruled that Prof Mwetala’s allegations had already been served to the two and the veracity of its truth would be known before the judgment.
Prof Mwatela, who has filed the case challenging his suspension, said Dr Langat’s firm was unsuccessful when the tendering committee evaluated the bids and awarded the tenders.
“On Saturday, while I was around my house, a received a telephone call. It was my boss, asking why so and so was not awarded the contract and we had a nasty communication,” he claimed.
He later received two letters from the Higher Education ministry raising several corruption allegations against him, including alleged interference with procurement procedures, students’ admission and recruitment of the staff.
Prof Mwatela said his two deputies were responsible for those duties and ought to have been held accountable.
The hearing continues.