Former Seku VC Geoffrey Mwanza gets luxury holiday amid perks controversy

Geoffrey Muluvi

Outgoing South Eastern Kenya University (Seku) Vice-Chancellor Geoffrey Muluvi at his office on March 14. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

South Eastern Kenya University (Seku) has gifted outgoing Vice-Chancellor Geoffrey Mwanza Muluvi with a five-day fully paid holiday to Zanzibar, amid uproar over his already hefty retirement package.

According to an internal memo seen by the Nation, Prof Muluvi and his wife will stay at a five-star hotel and enjoy fully paid excursions. The university will also cater for business class return air tickets for two.

“The Committee preparing the party in honour of the outgoing Vice-Chancellor approved a holiday trip for Prof Muluvi in Zanzibar as a gift from the university” reads a memo signed by Dr Jane Weru, the acting human resource director at Seku.

In the memo, Dr Weru sought the approval of acting VC Prof Francis Wachira for the expenditure.

Prof Wachira approved the expenditure and instructed the acting director of supply chain management to source for quotations from airlines and luxury hotels in Zanzibar to facilitate the holiday trip.

The retiring VC accepted the holiday offer and said that he prefers to fly out the week starting on October 16 and return around October 22. Contacted over the holiday trip, Prof Wachira declined to comment.

Prof Muluvi is facing criticism within and outside Seku after the University Council awarded him a hefty send-off package at a time the institution is struggling to pay its teaching and non-teaching staff.

The council approved a request by the outgoing VC to retain the monthly emoluments he has been enjoying while in office, which is contrary to set guidelines and policies.

Both the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) have confirmed that they are investigating the decision to award him the package.

The SRC will meet tomorrow to discuss the legality of the 21-month sabbatical leave in the terms of the outgoing VC’s contract.

EACC Lower Eastern Regional Manager Japheth Baithalu said they were investigating the matter to recover any monies illegally paid to Prof Muluvi since he left office in May.

The university had been advised by both the SRC and the Public Service Commission against the move but chose to ignore the various advisories in awarding Prof Muluvi the exit package.

According to various correspondences, the outgoing VC negotiated a “personal to self” exit package that includes among others, responsibility, hardship, security and commuter allowances at the current rate.

Personal to self-remuneration terms means a special salary package—outside the government pay structure—offered to a person who brings extraordinary skills to the civil service while leaving a high-paying job in the private sector. By law and practice, such terms are not extended to an officer going on retirement.

On April 17, 2022, the council wrote to SRC seeking advice on how to remunerate Prof Muluvi as he reverts to a teaching professor job at the university.

In a letter dated May 17, 2022, SRC Secretary Anne Gitau responded, advising that Prof Muluvi’s job was contractual and that he could not continue enjoying the salary or benefits of an expired contract.

“The Commission has reviewed your request and clarifies that upon the completion or expiry of a contract of a public officer, the terms and conditions of service of that contract cease to apply. This is in line with the Commission’s advice on the matter to the Head of Public Service vide letter Ref No. SRC/TS/UG/3/7 VOL II (57) dated August 7th 2020” reads the letter.