Alarming Irregularities at Gambia University as Prof Kah Flouts Rules

Vice Chancellor Kah
Friday, April 20, 2012
The vice chancellor of the University of The Gambia, Professor Muhammadou M O Kah may be a good professor but not a good administrator. Since his appointment as vice chancellor, he has gross disregard for the university governing council, appoints mainly his relatives and friends, defy public procument rules among others, thus making both staff and students disgusted and disgruntled with his arbitrary administrative approach.
These are the findings of the investigative panel comprising officials of National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA) that probed into allegations of Mr Gumbo Touray, former director of University Affairs.
Currently standing trial for giving false information to a public officer, Gumbo Touray’s law suit came in the wake of a petition he addressed to the Office of the President clamming administrative malpractices by Professor Kah.
The report findings were read out at theBanjul Magistrates’ Court before Principal Magistrate Taiwo Ade Alagbe on Tuesday April 17, during the cross examination of the dean of  UTG by defense lawyer Badou Conteh. The report was earlier admitted by the court in evidence following the testimony of an NDEA officer as a prosecution witness.
“Since the appointment of Professor Muhammadou M O Kah as vice chancellor of the University of The Gambia, all committees (appointment and promotional committees, research and strategy committee, exams and evaluator committee etc) that were established by his predecessors for the smooth, transparent and efficient running of the university were abolished,” the report says.   
Attrition rate at the university among academic and administrative staff under the stewardship of Professor Kah is unprecedented as he is always taking decisions unilaterally without due consultation with the governing council most of which are even ultra-varies.
And under the chancellorship of Professor Kah, the trend that the university is taking apparently suggests that the university is moving away from the traditional British system to the American system which is alien to Gambian education system and basically his style of administration has relegated the progress of the university and the atmospheres at the university now is that everyone is aggrieved.
In addition, the report of The Gambia Public Procumbent report on UTG states that the institution is not working in compliance with GPPA rules, thus seriously flouting the said rules and doing things the way the vice chancellor and his administration likes.
The NDEA report went on to reveal that most of the appointments into the senior cadre of the university (academic and admin) were single handedly done by professor Kah, without going by the prescribed standards.
Undoubtedly, most of the beneficiaries of such appointments are either his friends or relatives. And that investigation reveals he may be sousing facilities of the university for his personal project as he has constructed a college situated at Bijilo which is almost ready for use; the building is decorated with the same color paint used on the fence of the Kanifing campus.
According to the report, there is also a lot of cost incurred by the university in the form of per diem claims and numerous and frequent travels of the VC as his single travel will cost the UTG  up to the tune of 300,000 to 400,000 dalasi.
The acting chief accountant says one of the trips cost up to 6oo, ooo. The VC is always traveling on first class and the air tickets which are mostly bought from Abbery’s Travel despite the high cost implication knowing that the UTG is at its nursing stage.
This is addition to his 3.5 million dalasi annual salary, 10 thousand US Dollars annually for his house rent even though the lives in his own house and about 40,000 dalasis every three months for his children’s school fees, utilities, his maid  and security salaries which is outrageous for a developing university to sustain.
Therefore as a Gambian VC, he lacks sacrifice and patriotism. It is however, not clear where the huge salaries are approved from or who authorized them.
The report further asserts that it is obvious that the administrative approach of Professor Kah particularly in the area of academics is compromising quality for quantity of courses thought at the university.
This has brought about more de-motivation among the staff coupled with discontinuation of almost all their little benefits that they would enjoy. There welfare makes them worried and they are crying foul.
On Alhagie Gumbo Touray’s allegations, the report reveals that during the visit of the National Assembly select committee on education to the university, Gumbo Touray frankly expressed his dissatisfaction with the way the university is been governed which certainly did not go down well with the VC and consequently decided to suspend him, as in his words, ‘based on powers conferred on him’.
However, is not able to produce any investigative report on the issue of Gumbo Touray though he has claimed to have constituted an investigation into the matter. What is however, confirmed is that the VC went ahead to terminate the service of Mr Touray unilaterally without consultation.
The report concluded that the UTG is without a laboratory for all the science courses offered by the university, as the present laboratories in use are meant to train teachers and are not the same as university labs.
At the moment, the university offers no practical course in all the sciences and considering the government’s emphasis on the need to advance the sciences, this is unacceptable.
Against these backdrops, the report concludes that Professor Muhammad MO .Kah may be a good lecturer but not a good administrator who can move the university to the envisaged level.

Author: Binta A Bah
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