The Methodist Church in Kenya, the management of Kenya Methodist University (KeMU) has put two of its prime assets on sale to offset part of the university’s about Sh3 billion debt.
MCK presiding Bishop Joseph Ntombura, who is also KeMU’s chancellor, said that the management has offered five-storey KeMU Towers located along Koinange Street, Nairobi and a 0.875 acre plot at the junction of Lower Factory Road and Kipchoge Avenue in Nakuru Town, with a residential building, to potential buyers in order to reduce the debt the university has.
“We have about Sh1.8 billion in loans and Sh1.3 billion as credit. When we sell some of our assets we can reduce some of the debts we have. The church will also come in and inject some cash to keep the university going as KeMU belongs to the church and we have enough assets to bail it out,” said Reverend Ntombura during a press conference in Nairobi on Saturday.
The bishop said that the cash that will be received will go towards settling debts owed to Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), paying arrears of sacked workers as well as gratuity.
He said that the debts were incurred between 2007 and 2012 way before he came into office.
At the same time, the vice chancellor Professor Maurice Okoth acknowledged that the university has had financial challenges just like any other universities in the country but denied claims that the university is closing.
He also denied claims that the university has issues to do with closure, saying that he is not aware of as the institution is in good relationship with the Commission for University Education (CUE) and other regulatory bodies in the country.
The VC stated that whenever the university encounters financial problems, it runs to its sponsor, which the church, to bail them out and that has been the case and they are even introducing new programmes at the university.
Prof Okoth added that the university has a graduation ceremony set for October 13 when 58 medical students will be graduating , a first-of-its-kind feat by any private university in Kenya.
“KeMU is well and sound and we have students who have just reported. Currently, we have 8, 000 students in session. From where we sit, we have not been interfered with as management,” said Prof Okoth.
Silas Muriuki, the university’s Board of Trustees chair, explained that the debts came as a result of past mismanagement by leaders of the university coming in in form of bloated workforce caused by over employment, loans, and inflated salaries among others.