TUK fires 350 staff over fake papers

Technical University of Kenya

The Technical University of Kenya campus along along Haile Selassie Avenue in Nairobi. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Over 350 members of staff at the Technical University of Kenya (TUK) have been struck off the higher learning institution’s payroll following an audit that found that they hold questionable academic documents.

Nation.Africa understands that the affected staff are from all cadres of the workforce, including lecturers, and their services will be terminated at the end of this month. 

The exercise to authenticate the workers’ academic certificates started in December last year and involved verification with various institutions. The falsified documents are also for various levels of education.

A source at the university told the Nation.Africa yesterday, June 19, said that some of the cases would be forwarded to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations for further probe and probable prosecution.

“In total, there are about 350 sacked workers, including very senior members of academic staff. Others are in lower ranks,” the source said

The TUK chapter of the University Academic Staff Union (Uasu) has written to its members to plan the way forward.

“It has come to the attention of the union (from colleagues) of the above captioned matter. Some members of staff have received letters from the university management notifying them of their intended removal from the payroll, effective July 1 2024. This is to inform all the affected members to immediately share the details of their letters with the chapter office for advice on the way forward.”

“Given the varied reasons for the intended action by management, it is prudent that the union and her members take a collective, responsible and reasonable approach to address the aforementioned letters,” reads a letter by the chapter secretary, Fred Wanyonyi Sawenja.

When contacted by Nation.Africa, Mr Sawenja said the union office has been receiving information from members but confirmed that some had issues to do with their certification. He declined to give the number of complaints received so far.

“I’m still getting information. I can’t say how many have contacted the office but it’s about certification. Until I get the letters they were served, I can’t comment and we don’t have the exact number. We’ll advise them based on the letters they receive. There are various reasons but it’s confidential information,” Mr Sawenja said.

Bloated workforce

Last year, the management of TUK set out to update its staff establishment following allegations that it had a bloated workforce and after some new appointments and promotions of academic staff were made. There were claims of impropriety in the appointments.

In a memo sent in June 2023, the director for human resource management asked all units, schools, faculties and centre administrators to carry out a headcount of staff and indicate the positions available but that were vacant.

The issue of fake academic qualifications has attracted the attention of authorities. In April, the EACC said it had received 1,473 reports of falsification of academic documents by public and State officers by February 2024 in order to secure jobs or promotions.

According to the CEO of the commission, Mr Twalib Mbarak, there are 1,337 other cases under investigation. Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua recently said there were over 10,000 people on the government payroll but who hold dubious qualifications. 

Efforts to get a comment from the management of TUK were unsuccessful.