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Auctioneers raid KNUT over Sh1.4m debt

By Augustine Oduor | July 1st 2021
The cash-strapped union has been unable to pay the salaries of most of its officials with staff medical cover suspended and some branch offices shut. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

Auctioneers on Thursday raided Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) head office along Mfangano Street in Nairobi over Sh1.4 million debt and attached property.

Union deputy secretary-general Hesbon Otieno said the newly-elected officials are not aware of the debt.

“I arrived and found them taking office furniture and a lot of other equipment. I pleaded with them so that we talk but they declined,” said Otieno.

He said the development is the start of a major clean up in the union as hidden dirt starts to show.

“None of us was aware of these debts. You can clearly see that some leaders were engaged in some underhand dealings and with time we shall get to know what else is wrong so we fix it,” said Otieno.

The cash-strapped union has been unable to pay the salaries of most of its officials with staff medical cover suspended and some branch offices shut.

At the height of its optimum operations about three years ago, Knut, which at the time boasted of over 180,000 members received monthly dues of about Sh144 million.

Out of the monthly contribution, Sh84.5 million or about 61 per cent of the cash the union received from TSC, was relayed to the 110 regional offices.

Another Sh54 million ­– about 38 per cent of the union earnings – were used to run various programmes at the head office every month.

Overall, the money was also used to pay salaries, settle legal fees, finance research and also fund some operations of Knut.

Knut also used the money to run gender programmes, training, production of development manuals, capacity building of staff and revamping schools organizing teams.

At its peak, Knut also rewarded some outstanding teachers, managed programmes such as World Teachers Day and ensured global themes are actualized through actions and activities fully funded by the union.

The union's branches and secretariat staff ran their programmes anchored on the union strategic plan and fully funded by the union.

But as Knut fights with the Teachers Service Commission intensified and membership started to dwindle, most unions’ operations were suspended and a number grounded to a halt.

Today, with only 15,000 members, Knut receives Sh12 million which cannot sustain its operations.

“The reality of the matter is that the union no longer has money to sustain the huge salaries and perks of top officials as had always been the case,” said a newly-elected member of the National Executive Council.

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