Kenya MPs want varsity audit on Kigali campus
Kenya parliament has ordered a forensic audit on the Ksh618 million ($4.14 million that Kenyatta University spent to acquire its campus in Kigali, with former Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i distancing himself from a directive to shut it down.
The National Assembly Public Investment Committee on Education, which is chaired by Bumula MP Jack Wamboka, has directed the Auditor-General to investigate after it emerged that Kenyatta University (KU may have bought the two properties at inflated prices.
KU spent Ksh420.7 million ($2.8 million to open the Kigali campus and a further Ksh98 million ($657,056 before it was shut in 2018 without admitting a single student. It also spent Ksh53 million ($355,347 to open the Arusha campus before it was similarly closed.
The committee questioned Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu, KU vice-chancellor Paul Wainaina, former KU vice-chancellor Olive Mugenda and Dr Matiang’i over the acquisition of the Kigali campus and opening of the Arusha campus.
Read:KU loses $5.18m in Kigali, Arusha campus closures
“The decision to close the campuses was made by the government after the host countries made it impossible for the university to operate in Rwanda and Tanzania,” Dr Matiang’i said.
He told the MPs that the government tried in vain to intervene and engage the authorities in Rwanda through the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
“They even amended the law to make it difficult for our campuses to operate in Kigali and Arusha. I think they had problems with our institutions setting shop there,” he said.
“The Rwanda Commission for Higher Education and the Tanzania Commission for Universities ordered the closure of the campuses due to failure to meet quality standards,” he added.
“The case of the two campuses in Kigali and Arusha was so acrimonious that it almost came to a government-to-government negotiation.Everyone was put in a difficult position,” Matiangi
Prof Wainaina revealed that the university has been unable to get a buyer for the two Kigali buildings, let alone a tenant. Wamboka accused KU’s management of a decision that has now led to wastage of public funds through the botched projects.
Prof Mugenda said valuation was done by the Rwandan government and a private valuer.
Read:Kenyan varsity invested $3.6m on Rwanda campus without approval
Prof Mugenda said Rwandan and Kenyan authorities approved the establishment of the campuses and that valuation was done by the Rwandan government and a private valuer.
Wamboka accused KU’s management of directly procuring the Kigali properties in a decision that has now led to wastage of public funds through the botched projects.
“Rwandan officials visited the campus and found it fit for purpose. I sent a team to negotiate the purchase price down from $3.6 million to $3 million,” Prof Mugenda said.
Dr Matiang’i said his predecessor, Prof Jacob Kaimenyi, was in office when the process was initiated.
“By the time I was moved to the Ministry of Education, the work of establishing campuses was under way so it is not accurate to say that I authorised them,” Dr Matiang’i said, and who sat in the tender committee that sanctioned the purchase of the two Kigali campus buildings, said they may have been overpriced.