Meru Human Rights Activist Salesio Mutuma Thuranira has criticised Njuri-Ncheke elders for defending Meru University Vice Chancellor Romanus Odhiambo against corruption allegations.
Thuranira said the elders’ interference would deter justice and development of the University.
The activist had gone to court seeking orders to compel the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission of Kenya to investigate Meru University Science and Technology Vice chancellor Prof Romanus Odhiambo over graft and abuse of office.
Speaking to the media on Thursday, Thuranira called on the elders to help in uncovering the corruption issues.
“I thank Njuri for going to Meru University after I uncovered the corruption issues. They said they want it to develop but this cannot happen when they are covering up corruption. I never applied for any tender and I went to EACC and Court for the sake of the University and those being oppressed,” he said
He also accused Prof Odhiambo of using Public relations to seek mercy from community elders and County Assembly Leaders.
Thuranira’s sentiments come a day after Meru Njuri-Ncheke Council of elders defended the VC over the raised allegation claiming he is unfairly targeted.
Speaking at the University on Wednesday, Njuri-Ncheke Chairperson, Linus Kathera condemned suing of the VC and asked people with complaints to inform Njuri elders instead.
“We cannot be criticizing our university while others are progressing. Those who sued the VC should stop since we do not want our university to be troubled. I am asking anybody with grievances concerning the university to report to us,” Kathera said.
According to Kathera, the VC has rights to issue tenders to any company that suits the university requirements.
He said the accused VC has enabled Meru University to acquire stability and developments.
“Njuri-Ncheke wanted a University similar to Makerere and our prayers were answered. Two years ago the university was experiencing a lot of strikes but since we intervened and Prof Odhiambo came in, the university acquired stability,” the elders Council Chairperson said.
Njuri-Ncheke Secretary general Josphat Murangiri echoed Kathera’s sentiments by saying students have increased from 5000 to 8800 after VC Odhiambo took over. Murangiri called on stakeholders with complaints to use dialogue rather than going to court.
Mutuma,through lawyer Henry Kurauka filed a petition under certificate of urgency at the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nairobi. He also wanted the VC barred from performing any duties if the investigation found him guilty.
In his allegation Mutuma demanded three companies recently awarded contracts for construction of a modern laboratory, library and administration/tuition block investigated, claiming they were not selected competitively.
He alleged that the three were among the highest bidders and that the quoted amount for laboratory work – Sh258 Million, was higher than the lowest bid, which he claimed was Sh98 million.
He further claimed that a company with a pending court case (Civil Case 501 of 2013 and Miscellaneous EL 32 of 2019) was awarded a tender at the institution contrary to procurement provisions.
Mutuma also accused the VC of recruiting, from outside the county, a senior administrative officer, chief security officer, internal auditor and a legal officer, positions that should have been filled through internal staff promotions.
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Reached for comment earlier, the VC dismissed the allegations, terming them a scheme to tarnish his good image. He said companies that were among the lowest bidders were eliminated in the preliminary stages of tendering and maintained that the legal process was followed.
Regarding changes in the procurement department, the don said rampant graft at the institution influenced his decision a year after he took over as VC.
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