How public universities cheat on staff data to mint millions

FROM LEFT:UASU Secretary General Constantine Wasonga,Kenya University Staff Union (KUSU ) Secretary General Dr Charles Mukhwaya, Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers (KUDHEIHA). Secretary General Mr Albert Njeru, and Universities Academic staff Union (UASU) National Chairman Prof. Muga K’Olale address a press conference in a Nairobi hotel PHOTO: JENIPHER WACHIE

An audit has revealed discrepancies in the staffing numbers in public universities that could lead to a loss of Sh850 million after the implementation of the new pay deal. 

The report, by three workers’ unions and overseen by the managers of public universities, shows that 2,513 employees across the 31 public universities could not be accounted for.


After signing the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the total workforce in universities was found to be 27,798 and not the 30,312 that had been declared.

“Overall, the universities over-declared the February staff numbers by 2,513 before negotiations,” reads the report of the 2013-2017 CBA between the Inter Public Universities Council Consultative Forum and university unions.

The report says calculations before the audit indicated that the total amount required for the CBA was Sh10.8 billion, giving a deficit of Sh802 million.


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“After the audit, the total sum consumed was Sh9.1 billion, giving a surplus of Sh853 million. The audit resolved the errors that could potentially have occasioned the misallocation of Sh1.6 billion,” reads the report.


The chairman of the vice chancellors’ committee, Francis Aduol, dismissed the notion that universities had inflated figures, explaining that they were only weighted averages.

“That data was released in February and was used as estimates. For purposes of actual payments, we counted actual people with actual names complete with actual grades and actual days worked from July 2013 to March 2017,” he said.

Prof Aduol said each university sent a representative from the payroll department to work with the union representatives who conducted the audit.

He added that there were no disagreements on the payment of the surplus.

“The percentages of each staff will go up. There could be a misunderstanding but that is not why they have not been paid,” Aduol said.


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The government signed the CBA with the Universities Academic Staff Union and the Kenya University Staff Union.

The officials of the Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions Hospital and Allied (Kudheiha) workers union also signed the deal.


The audit shows that all public universities submitted data of staff numbers, which revealed major variations at in February 2016 and after the signing of the CBA.

The unions realised after signing the CBA that the deal was marred by errors in the calculation of the actual numbers, triggering the audit.

The team tasked with carrying out the audit compared the staff numbers in the raw payrolls and that in data sets and assessed whether all the information was properly linked in the spreadsheets.

Kenyatta University had the highest variation in staff numbers, with an inflated work force of 417. The report shows the university declared it had 3,298 workers and the number came down to 2,881 after the audit.


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Egerton University had 233 more workers. It had declared 2,180 employees.



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