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Prosecute VCs for non-remittance of Sh10 billion, says Uasu boss.

Lecturers now want the prosecution of vice chancellors of universities implicated in the non-remittance of about Sh10 billion in statutory deductions.

Lecturers have been subjected to untold suffering because of the defaults, University Academic Staff Union Secretary General Constantine Wasonga said on Wednesday.

'The audit report fully vindicates Uasu. Unions have been saying that financial mismanagement is rampant public universities, with adverse effects on the welfare of universities' academic staff,' Wasonga said after a National Executive Council meeting at a Nairobi hotel.

The audit report which was commissioned by the Education ministry revealed that as at June 30 last year, 26 universities were yet to remit a total of Sh4.58 billion in pension.

Five were yet to remit Sh4.28 billion in NHIF deductions, 10 had defaulted in paying Sh2.63 billion in PAYE deductions while seven universities were yet to remit Sh481 million in sacco and bank deductions.

The biggest defaulters include Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology with an outstanding amount of Sh1.09 billion in pension.

Technical University of Kenya had Sh3,162,600 in unpaid NHIF deductions while Kenyatta University was yet to remit Sh902 million for PAYE.

Moi University was the biggest culprit in non-remittance of Sh306 million in sacco and bank loan deductions.

As a result, Wasonga said, retired university staff are wallowing in "abject poverty" because they have not been paid their pension. He said many others and their families cannot access healthcare as universities did not pay their NHIF deductions.

'There is a high rate of mortality and suffering among university workers,' the official said, further noting that the same lecturers have been blacklisted by the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB).

'KRA has refused to issue tax compliance certificates to a number of university workers due to the failure of employers to remit PAYE deductions," he said.

Remittance of statutory deductions to relevant authorities is the sole mandate of the employer.

Wasonga noted that non-remittance is a criminal offence under laws including the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act and the Retirement Benefits Act.

He said Education CS Amina Mohamed should immediately release the audit report to relevant agencies for the prosecution of VCs found culpable.

'The ministry should immediately release the audit report to [authorities] including the Ethics and Anti-corruption Authority (EACC), the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the Auditor General, the Retirement Benefits Authority and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) for immediate action."

Wasonga threatened to call for industrial action should the ministry fail to release the money, as "we are demanding for what rightfully belongs to us".

He further called on the CS to commission another audit on the non-payment of part time lecturers as some have not received money since 2013.

'Get it [right]. The union is not requesting it is demanding the release of this money. This union does not fear strikes; we have held strikes four times in a row,' he added.

'It is not even Sh10 billion. The records we have in our offices state that it is over Sh10 billion."

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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Jun 27, 2018
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