Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has finally sacked embattled Technical University of Mombasa (TUM) Vice-Chancellor Josphat Mwatelah.
Prof Mwatelah was dismissed following investigations that raised concerns about integrity, abuse of office and maladministration in the office of the vice-chancellor.
Dr Matiang’i overruled the University Council, which had given a warning letter to Prof Mwatelah, who was serving a suspension since February 25 after the council found him guilty of eight out of 10 charges levelled against him.
“In exercise of the powers conferred upon me under section 35(1)(v) as read together with section 39 of the Universities Act 2012, and clause 30 of your terms of Service, I have decided with effect from the date of this letter to terminate your contract as the Vice-Chancellor, Technical University of Mombasa,” said Dr Matiang’i in a letter dated May 11 and addressed to Prof Mwatelah.
He went on: “This painful and regrettable decision has been arrived at after a careful and considered review of the minutes of the TUM special council meetings of May 3 and 4, the dissenting opinion of three members of the TUM council, audit report by Auditor General dated June 30, 2015 and a report by the Head of internal audit in the ministry of Education dated April 5 2016.”
Dr Matiang’i said the two reports and the minutes had raised grave issues of lack of integrity, abuse of office and maladministration in the office of the vice-chancellor.
The Cabinet secretary said the sacked V-C is entitled to a full and final payment of six months’ salary in lieu of notice upon effective handing over and clearance by the chairman of the council and acting Vice-Chancellor Leila Uweso Abubakar.
The dismissal letter is copied to Principal Secretary for Higher Education Collete Suda, TUM chancellor Douglas Odiambo and council chairman Linus Ettyang.
In their meeting on May 3 and 4, the University Council said it could not reach a consensus on the overall verdict on Prof Mwatelah despite having found him guilty of eight out of 10 charges levelled against him.
“Three members voted for termination while three members voted for issuance of a warning letter to the VC, the chairman voted for issuance of warning letter to the Vice Chancellor to break the tie,” said Dr Ettyang in a letter to Dr Matiang’i.
Prof Mwatelah had also been accused of being involved in irregular procurements of goods and services, practicing nepotism by recruiting and employing relatives and admitting students who did not qualify to study at the institution.
The auditors also found that the VC was awarding advertising tenders without obtaining mandatory approvals and had not complied with the code of ethics in performing his duties.
Auditor-General Edward Ouko, in his audit report dated March 31, 2016, revealed that the university was not following required procedures in procuring goods and had not remitted statutory deductions to relevant institutions.
Mr Ouko observed that according to financial statements, the institution received Sh798 million from the government during the financial year ending June 30, 2015, with Sh733.5 million for recurrent expenditure and Sh64.5 million for capital expenditure.
However, Mr Ouko said data from the Ministry of Education indicated that the university received Sh874.7 million, leading to a variance of Sh76.6 million, but the management could not explain and reconcile the discrepancy.