Sh600 million lost in KU's stalled projects, say MPs

Senate Health Committee members, led by their chairman Jackson Mandago (third right) tour Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Hospital. [FIle, Standard]

Kenyatta University cannot account for more than Sh600 million allocated to projects since 2015, according to MPs.

Members of the national assembly's Public Investments Committee on Governance and Education expressed concern that some of the projects did not take off even after they were allocated millions of shillings.

"At least 12 projects have stalled even after they were allocated money," said the committee's chairman, Bumula MP, Jack Wamboka.

Wamboka said members of the successive managements of the university have been summoned to parliament over the alleged misappropriation of the taxpayers' money.

Research and referral hospital

While on an inspection tour of Kenyatta University and the Kenyatta University Teaching, Research and Referral Hospital (KUTRRH) on Wednesday, the legislators claimed part of the money had been stolen.

Also summoned to appear before the committee, according to Wamboka, are Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u and former Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. The two will be expected to explain to parliament why KUTRRH was delinked from the university, KU.

“We have established that some of the various projects at KUTRRH include a multi-million children’s hospital, recreational centre, and an economic studies facility which did not take off after the foundation was laid. The theft that has happened at KU since 2015 is huge. Some of the projects which had been allocated as much as Sh200 million are nonexistent,” Wamboka said.

The committee also took issue with KUTRRH management which has allegedly locked out KU medical students from accessing the hospital’s facilities for teaching and training purposes. 

The main entrance to Kenyatta University Teaching, Research and Referral Hospital. [File, Standard]

The management of the university and that of KUTRRH have been embroiled in a two-year supremacy battle over the control of the health facility.

The battle is pitting the head of KU Vice Chancellor Paul Wainaina and his former boss Prof Olive Mugenda, who is now the chairperson of the KUTRRH board, a standoff that is said to have caused the university's medical students a lot of suffering.

When it was established, one of the problems the hospital was to solve was to provide KU's medical students with facilities for their practical training. KUTRRH was also to be used as a centre of excellence in research and capacity-building.

The hospital was expected to help reverse medical tourism, provide specialized medical care, enhance access to healthcare and provide safe and effective evidence-based care.

Invoked delinking

However, while in its advanced stages of integrating the hospital as part of the university, Legal Notice No. 4 of 2019 was invoked delinking the hospital from the university. This was after KUTRRH became a new parastatal.

As a result, the KU community turned into spectators on a project they originally owned, triggering endless legal, financial and administrative disputes between the two institutions regarding the operations of the hospital.

Prof Mugenda has dismissed reports that the hospital has denied KU medical students access to its facilities for training purposes.

During a visit by the Senate Committee on Health on July 30, 2023, Mugenda told senators that KUTRRH has no problem with KU students training at the facility.

"We had discussions with the Health Cabinet Secretary and granted the hospital the legal mandate to offer the needed training," said Mugenda.