Tuesday, October 30, 2012

University of The Gambia Vice Chancellor Confirmed as a Corrupt Administrator?

Prof. Kah, Vice Chancellor of University of The Gambia
Magistrate Taiwo Ade Alagbe of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court on 4th October delivered a judgment in the false information trial involving Dr Gumbo Touray, former University of The Gambia Director of International Affairs.  After a long period of trial punctuated by legal arguments and counter arguments by the defence counsel and the state prosecutor, the Magistrate did not found Dr Touray guilty of any wrongdoing by writing a petition against the Vice Chancellor of the UTG, Professor Muhammadou Kah, to the President Yahya Jammeh, the Chancellor of the University.  

The Magistrate therefore acquitted and discharged Dr Touray accordingly.  This is an indication that the allegation by the State against Dr Touray for giving false information to a public officer holds no water, unless they appeal the judgment of Magistrate Alagbe and prove it otherwise. 

In the petition to President Jammeh, Dr Touray accused Prof. Kah of squandering the university’s resources and engaging in nepotism and cronyism by employing his relatives and friends, real corrupt practices.

Dr. Touray also accused Prof. Kah of dismantling the university’s councils and committees and giving favours to foreign staff, much to the anger of Gambian staff.

These are real corrupt practices claimed to be done by someone the society and the whole country should look up to as a role model both in academics and mode of administration. 

Now acquitting and discharging Dr Touray without seeing any iota of false information in his petition is a confirmation that all he said there is the truth and nothing but the truth.  In fact he was praised by the Magistrate as a patriotic citizen who did not keep silence on the situation of the UTG but rather exposed the maladministration of the university by Prof. Kah.

He said during the appointment of Prof. Kah as the VC, his academic credentials were not put into scrutiny. Despite lack of scrutiny of his credentials, he is earning D3.5 million annual salary, US$10,000 annually for his house rent even though he lives in his own house and about D40, 000 every three months for his children’s school fees, utilities, his maid and security salaries. 

This is outrageous for a developing university to sustain, as confirmed by a report of the NDEA and Magistrate Alagbe said the actions of the Prof. Kah was not only wrongdoings, but were ridiculous in terms of his salary compared to the monthly salary of his predecessor Prof. Stigen, a Norwegian national.

Since Prof. Kah took over from the Norwegian national, he is said to have gross disregard for the University Governing Council and appoints mainly his relatives, among others, thus making both staff and students’ disgusted and disgruntled with his arbitrary administrative approach. 

An investigation by the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA) investigative panel to find out whether Dr Touray’s claim holds any water finally corroborated it. 

According to the report, since the appointment of Prof. Kah as the VC of the UTG, all committees (appointment and promotional committees, research and strategy committee, exams and evaluation committee, etc) that were established by his predecessors for the smooth, transparent and efficient running of the university were abolished.  

The NDEA report confirmed that most of the appointments into the senior cadre of the university (academic and admin) were singlehandedly done by Prof. Kah, without going by the prescribed standards.

In a nutshell, all that Dr Touray said in his petition and as corroborated by the investigation of the NDEA are primary behaviours of a very corrupt and bad leader.

However, the Magistrate said the revelation of Touray was just a tip of the iceberg meaning there could a possibility of more abnormality and maladministration under Prof. Kah’s leadership at the University of The Gambia than is known now. 

The magistrate said Dr Touray’s petition was done for national interest, and as a Gambian VC, Prof Kah is said to lack sacrifice and patriotism.  Touray would have maintained his silence like other UTG staff to secure his position, but instead sacrificed his position by challenging the wrongdoing of the big man of the university, for national interest

The NDEA report has it that Prof. Kah may be a good lecturer but not a good administrator.  

Experts in education and university affairs have argued that an administrator would make a better vice-chancellor.  Running a university is a huge task, and this has little to do with theoretical knowledge.

Also lots of decisions taken by the vice-chancellor are more administrative in nature than academic. The VC has to be a good manager, a quality seldom associated with an academician.

Now Prof. Kah is occupying the position of a vice chancellor, an administrative position, is he still a better option for this position? Is he the real corrupt big man portrayed in Dr Touray’s petition and confirmed by the NDEA report?  Should the university be headed by a man whose academic credential is still a subject of debate?  Will the government or the ministry of higher education pay heed to Magistrate Alagbe’s recommendation that a panel be set up to review the credentials of Prof. Kah as to whether he is fit to be the Vice Chancellor of the UTG?  Can the UTG sustain to pay a salary that is said to be outrageous?


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