Daystar University in Trouble

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Daystar University forced to close down

Daystar University forced to close down

The forensic report that was closely guarded by Daystar University administration, sparking student unrest and eventual closure of the institution this year, reveals a major rot in systems and management akin to government operations.
A summary of the report seen by Business Today lists a number of unethical activities by management that compromised the university’s integrity and quality of life and education for students who pay so dearly for the services.
Neglect of student welfare, arbitrary fee increments, failure to follow proper procedures and tribalism within staff departments are listed among the findings of the forensic report commissioned by the university council. The report by audit firm One Source Financial Services brings to light the shadowy underbelly on a number of issues raised by students and staff that plunged the elite communication-famed university into crisis from late last year.
An executive summary of the forensic details how procedures were not followed by university administrators in a number of circumstances, raising integrity questions on how the university management arbitrarily flouted the institution’s processes.
The controversy led to the sacking of the University’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Wachira, and disbandment of the university’s council
Procedures for a dam project at the Athi River Campus as well as the sale of land belonging to the institution were found to be riddled with discrepancies. The report concluded that the sale of 45 acres of land belonging to Daystar University did not follow the correct process and some land parcel agreements were not made in a timely manner contrary to the sale agreement contracts.
As for the dam project, the report found the procurement process was not followed as the contractor was single-sourced. One Source’s findings states that the “top management – VC and DVC-F&A flouted procurement policy and procedures.”
The dam is estimated to be worth Ksh110 million, according to an article in the Daystar University students’ newspaper.
On the proposed construction of the road leading to the institution at Athi River, the report says the university contracted a consultant to supervise the construction of the public road in a deal worth Ksh2.35 million. “The VC entered into a contract to sell murram from the university. The purchaser was single sourced by the VC,” the report states.
“Contrary to the procurement policies, Daystar University through the chairman of the Council and the VC contracted a consultant to supervise public road construction. The university made a down-payment of 55% fee payable to the consultant,” One Source says.
The executive summary that was done in February of this year also found a high number of staff from the same tribes in various departments at the university. “All departments in the university are dominated by two tribes – Kikuyu and Kamba – accounting for more than half of all staff both part-time and permanent staff,” the report says.
The audit firm also found “majority of finance and administration managers are from one tribe.”
The report found that the university administration increased school fees for continuing students in spite of an agreement reached upon in 2010 restricting the institution to only increasing school fees for new students. “Fee increment confirmed from fee structures provided to us. Some continuing students were charged but later reversed,” the report says.
One Source auditors also found that no fee increment deliberations were conducted by the University Council as per its meeting in June 2017 and therefore noted there that “fee increment not approved in June 2017 Council meeting.”
The audit firm found improper housing conditions in some of the student hostels – with mould infestation, bed-bug menace and non-functioning showers topping the list of deplorable conditions.
Sports facilities were also found to be in very poor condition and not fit to be used by students. “Most of the sports and recreation facilities are unmaintained and are below standard.”
On the face of it, Daystar University looks very appealing. Here students are seen milling at the main campus grounds in Athi River
Medical insurance coverage was found to be wanting, as a new insurance company provider brought in by the university is offering “less services compared to the previous provider” despite maintaining the same previous premium charges.
The institution’s dispensary was also found to be charging consultation fees for students with chronic diseases every time they came for their medication. The dispensary service provider as well as a transport service provider, found incompetent, have since been changed.
Staff members and members of the University Council flouted conflict of interest policy, with the Christian-founded institution of higher learning failing to keep a conflict of interest register.
The report also found the promotion to professorship of former Vice-Chancellor Prof. Timothy Wachira was not procedural as a three-person interviewing panel was not properly constituted as prescribed by the HR policy.
One Source found that the process started as a verbal discussion between Prof. Wachira and current Acting Vice Chancellor Prof. James Kombo and that there was no written application by the former.

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