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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 9 November 2014

MASENO UNIVERSITY VC BEHIND BANKRUPTCY REPORT

A report by the Auditor General for the financial year which ended June 30 2013 reveals that Maseno University could be declared bankrupt and may be closed in the near future.
There is fear that the university’s current liabilities which stand at Sh161.5 million surpass the current assets of the university estimated at Sh47.3 million. According to the Auditor General Edward Ouko, Maseno is technically insolvent but the VC Prof Dominic Makawiti in a quick rejoinder blamed it on the more than 10,000 students admitted at the introduction of the double intake programme who have stretched its capacity and programmes. However, other sources say that the VC has been spending thousands in maintaining a hit squad of mean-looking men nicknamed Jeshi la Makawiti or JM that provides him security while at the university or in Kisumu town including his rural home.
According to the report, Maseno had accumulated a Sh141 million deficit in the year under review, which is higher than the Sh100.1 million deficit it returned in 2011/12 financial year. The report casts a shadow over the long term survival of the state-owned institution. “Maseno’s current liabilities of Sh161.5 million exceeded the current assets of Sh47.3,” said Ouko.
The report, which was submitted to parliament last week, indicates the accuracy of books of accounts is questionable. It is now suspected that heads are most likely to roll at the accounts department to weed out corrupt officers.
The report further reveals that the Auditor General could not ascertain the accuracy of books of accounts for Maseno which is a pointer to the financial management mess in the institution.
Maseno may therefore be closed sooner rather than later as it is currently facing serious financial difficulties and currently relies on the support of government and creditors.
The report raised issues on a number of suspected financial misappropriation and financial mismanagement. The report singled out the university’s council expenses of Sh21.7 million and other amounts totalling Sh5.9 million for other payments, hotel accommodation, contingencies, payroll payments, undescribed payments and payments to three officers that were not supported by any documentation.
The VC has however accused the government of underfunding the institution. He claims that the annual budgetary allocation of Sh161million is insufficient for the growing university population and that the institution operates on a Sh44 million budget deficit.
With the current financial difficulties facing the institution, the fate of the university’s Vision 2030 flagship projects, including a state-of-the-art library and hostels hangs on the balance.
Maseno has of late been in the media for all wrong reasons.
For the last two years, Maseno students have been complaining about the rise of insecurity in the region. Cases of students being attacked and robbed of their valuables has now turned out to be the order of the day. The students now say their attackers are the villagers living around the college.
But the villagers have distanced themselves from the claims and instead blamed the high insecurity cases on student politics. They allege that student leaders hopefuls used insecurity as one of the major stepping stones to their political success during campaigns ahead of their elections.
It is believed that some aspirants went to the point of hiring thugs to harass students and then later pose as good Samaritans in order to get favours from the electorate.