- Vice Chancellor David Norris confirms suspensions
- UB in deep financial crisis
The University of Botswana Vice Chancellor David Norris has confirmed that some members of staff at the University are currently under investigations following allegations of corruption and mismanagement of funds.
Last month two staff members (Director of Procurement and IT Manager) were served with separate letters notifying them of their immediate suspension. Sources allege that their suspension followed after numerous complaints citing the abuse of office by the two staff members. The two are alleged to have meddled with procurement process, which saw them benefit directly as well as defrauding the university.
In an interview with The Botswana Gazette, Norris confirmed their suspension, “Yes, it is true we suspended some members of our staff last month, but at the moment we cannot reveal the reasons for their suspension,” said the Vice Chancellor.
When pressed further with questions, he confirmed that it was true that the two were under investigation over allegations of corruption and mismanagement of university funds.
“Yes, they are currently being suspended and investigated for the said allegations, but at the moment there is nothing much to say as the investigations are currently ongoing. We are really trying hard to establish if it is true they defrauded the University, and then after we will take action,” he answered.
This publication further understands that more members of staff could also be facing suspension as a result of the ongoing investigation, something which Norris also admitted to.
“Currently we have these two, who are suspended and under investigation, but if the findings of the investigations reveal that more members of staff should be suspended we will do so, and launch an investigation on those staff members,” reiterated the Vice Chancellor.
Meanwhile, Norris told the Parliamentary Committee of Statutory Bodies and Enterprises last week that the University was facing serious financial troubles.
“We started the new financial year with a P71 million deficit; we struggled for months to pay salaries. When I got to the University last year we had a deficit of P231 million but we approached the ministry who assisted with P150 million,” he said.
He revealed that part of the crisis was a result of the decline in student intake. He said the institution currently has the capacity of admitting 18,000 students on annual basis, but the current number of students sits at 12,451. The Vice Chancellor added that UB has recently introduced new faculties, which are expensive to offer, and requested for government to intervene.
“Government has to chip in and we also have to internationalize our programs so that we don’t only look locally but also attract students from outside our borders,” said Norris.
Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology Theophilus Mooko also admitted to the UB financial crisis, but said there was little in terms of assistance that government could offer as the ministry has run out of funds.