What you need to know:
- A petitioner wants the former acting vice chancellor of Maasai Mara University, Onyango Magak, to pay back Sh20 million he earned during his tenure at the institution.
- He is also seeking a declaration that Mr James Nampushi, the university's current deputy vice-chancellor for administration, finance and strategy, is not qualified to hold the position and that he pays back more than Sh33 million he has earned from the university.
A resident of Mombasa has gone to court seeking to have former acting Vice-Chancellor of Maasai Mara University Onyango Magak pay back the salary, allowances and benefits amounting to Sh20 million he earned during the period he was in the position.
In his petition at the Employment and Labour Relations Court, Mr Benson Wemali wants a declaration that Prof Magak was not qualified to hold the position of acting VC from November 2019 to January 2022 and that the salaries, allowances and benefits illegally earned during the period be paid back to the university.
Mr Wemali is also seeking a declaration that Mr James Nampushi, the current deputy VC of the university in charge of administration, finance and strategy, is not qualified to hold the position from 2019 to date.
The petitioner wants an order that all salaries, allowances and benefits amounting to more than Sh33 million earned by Mr Nampushi during that period be paid back to the university.
Mr Wemali also wants a declaration that Prof Magak’s and Mr Nampushi’s acting positions were unconstitutional, unlawful, irregular null and void for being in contravention of the constitution.
He says that he is in possession of information that Prof Magak holds invalid qualifications, specifically a doctorate in literature and communication awarded in February 2005 from Washington International University.
According to the petitioner, Washington International University is neither accredited by the American Education Authorities or the Kenyan Commission for University Education.
“It is clear that Prof Magak used the said doctorate degree in question in 2008 to apply for a job at Maasai Mara University to which he was hired and on whose strength he was appointed acting VC,” argues the petitioner.
Mr Wemali has sued Prof Magak, Mr Nampushi, the chairman of the university council since 2020 Kennedy Ole Kerei, the university’s council and the Education Cabinet secretary.
Others sued are the Public Service Commission, Auditor-General, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and Attorney-General.
The petitioner argues that sometime in January 2022, Prof Magak was sacked as acting VC but he still continues to be in the employment of the university as a full-time professor despite his papers being questioned.
He further says that a report by the Auditor-General on the university for the year ended June 30, 2020 and tabled in the National Assembly raises numerous audit questions in the university during the tenure of Prof Magak, specifically irregular and double salary payments.
Mr Wemali says that after the publication of the Auditor-General’s report on the university, EACC made no efforts to commence investigations despite the matter eliciting huge public debate.
He says that it is clear that Prof Magak and Mr Nampushi earned salaries and allowances more than what was allowed, amounting to gross misconduct, abuse of office and corruption.
According to Mr Wemali, the appointment of Prof Magak in an acting capacity as VC was unlawful, lacked procedural considerations and his illegal earnings and those of Mr Nampushi during their temporary positions is tantamount to abuse of office and they should be declared unfit to hold public office.
He says the two are not fit to ever hold any office at the university or in any other public university in the country.
Further, the petitioner wants Mr Nampushi removed immediately from his position as deputy VC in charge of administration, finance and strategy.
He also wants Prof Magak ordered to pay back all the salaries and allowances he has earned since the time of his presentation of the impugned PhD for promotion.
As for Dr Ole Kerei, Mr Wemali wants him removed from office for being the chairperson of the council, which oversaw the irregularities and having made all the decisions leading to the university losing millions of shillings since 2020.
In the meantime, the petitioner wants the court to issue a conservatory order prohibiting the council of the university or anyone else from paying salaries, allowances and benefits to Prof Magak, Mr Nampushi and Dr Ole Kerei by virtue of their positions in the university.
The case will be mentioned on February 29.