EXCLUSIVE: Fireworks at Mara Varsity as union demands reinstatement of whistle blower, disbandment of council

The Kenya Universities Staff Union (KUSU) has written to the Ministry of Education demanding that the Maasai Mara University Council be suspended following the dismissal of the university’s staff, Spencer Sankale Ololchike.

Through the letter dated 21st June 2021 and whose copy we exclusively obtained, the union demands reinstatement of the whistleblower of the infamous “Mara Heist”.

Mr. Sankale (pictured above) was dismissed by the council on grounds of gross misconduct, according to the letter dated 17th June 2021.

The letter was signed by the university Council Chair, Dr. Kennedy Ole Kerei.

“Following your appearance before the Maasai Mara University Council on 1st September 2020, a follow up meeting of the Council was held on 16th June 2021 and established that you have continued with your actions of gross misconduct,” the letter reads in part.

It indicates nine grounds upon which the Council bases the decision to send the embattled Chief Finance Officer home.

The nine grounds include: “Sustained insolence to your employer, sustained cyber bullying, malicious misrepresentation of your employer, libel and defamation, falsely maligning the image and reputation of the university, sustained disregard of University Standards and Procedures, sustained incitement of university staff and general public against your employer, sustained gross insubordination and failure to act in the best interest of the university.”

“Due to the aforementioned, the Council resolved to summarily terminate your employment with the university with immediate effect, in accordance to section 44(4)(d)(g) of the Employment Act, 2007[Rev2012].

Note that you shall be paid one month’s salary in lieu of notice. You are requested to clear with the University by completing and returning the attached clearance form,” reads the letter.

KUSU now demands the removal of acting vice chancellor, Prof. Kitche Magaki, who, together with the Council, it accuses of corruption and mismanaging the university.

“The financial probity and operations by whoever is charged with responsibility of running the institution must be above board.

Mr. Sankale is one of those rare breed of Kenyans who come out to expose the fraud. The union demands the protection of whistleblowers at the university and immediate suspension of the entire University Council,” reads the statement.

The statement was signed by KUSU’s Secretary General, Dr. Charles Mukhwaya.

The union called on the relevant authorities to investigate alleged illegal payments at the university.

“We call upon government agencies to institute investigations into illegal payments to self by the acting VC, and the University Council’s activities for the past twelve months, and hold to account those found culpable for endemic corruption at the university.”

The union also demands that the government fast tracks the appointment of a substantive VC, who it believes will save the institution from further deterioration.

“The union has several options at its disposal to help solve the runaway corruption at the university.

We therefore appeal to the staff at the university to remain on standby whenever the union calls them to action.”

Our efforts to reach the acting VC hit a snag as calls went unanswered.

The chairman of the council was noncommittal to the interview.

“You can talk to the vice chancellor on the matter,” said Dr. Kerei, Chair of the Council.

Mr. Sankale was thrust into public limelight back in September 2019, when he featured on Citizen Television’s investigative report on corruption at the university.

The story implicated the embattled Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mary Walingo.

Prof. Walingo, who, according to the Director of Criminal Investigations, masterminded the embezzlement of Ksh. 172 million, was later suspended and charged alongside her deputies; Prof. Simon Kassaine (DVC, Administration, Finance and Planning), Prof. John Almadi Obere (ag DVC, Academic and Student Affairs), Anaclet Okumu (Finance) and her driver, Noor Hassan Abdi.

However, in a letter dated 12th May 2020 and signed by the chair of the University Council, Dr. Kerei, Prof. Walingo was interdicted following an audit query on the expenditure of Ksh. 1,395,185,472 which lacked supporting documents.

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Mr. Nyaanga, famously known as Amb. Scholarman Snr is a seasoned award-winning journalist with vast knowledge in print and online journalism. He is the Lead Editor at the Scholar Media Group Africa (SMEGA), the company which publishes The Scholar Newspaper and runs https://scholarmedia.africa.


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