Saturday, 20 July 2019

NUST BURSAR SUSPENDED OVER BOTCHED PROJECT

THE National University of Science and Technology (Nust) has suspended its bursar Mr Fortune Nkomo, over allegations of financial misappropriation.

Mr Nkomo was reportedly suspended last Friday for an initial 60 days while the university conducts internal investigations on a cocktail of charges that have been laid against him. Chief among the charges is the construction of eight precast walled classrooms which have since been condemned by authorities.

The classrooms allegedly cost the institution $700 000 and after the recent condemnation will now cost the institution $300 000 to safely demolish. Contacted for comment Nust director of information and public relations, Mr Felix Moyo said he had been out of office on Friday hence he was not aware of the suspension. 

“I was out of office on Friday I will be at work on Monday, maybe if you call me then but for now I am not aware of that issue,” said Mr Moyo.

Efforts to get a comment from his deputy, Mrs Lindiwe Nyoni were also fruitless as her mobile phone was not being answered.

Sources, however, revealed that Mr Nkomo had allegedly failed to give answers over the cost of the eight blocks of classrooms and their eventual condemnation.

“What raised eyebrows is that Mr Nkomo claimed that some of the materials were bought from Swaziland of which the University Council questioned how he could get precast wall tiles or window frames from as far as Swaziland when they are readily available in the country. 

The matter was going to go unnoticed but when the university contracted a local company to do the roofing, the company immediately raised red flags over the structure which led to authorities engaging experts who immediately condemned the structures,” said the source.

The source further revealed that questions were also asked how the structures could have reached roof level without engaging building inspectors.

“The reason to suspend him for 60 days was meant to initiate the necessary investigations as there are indications that there could be a number of matters that have been going unnoticed therefore it is felt he will interfere with investigations.

As it stands it is more of a suspension pending a full disciplinary hearing, further it is expected more officials from the bursar’s department will be suspended in the coming week,” said the source.

When a Sunday News crew visited the institution yesterday the site of the classrooms had been abandoned, the classrooms structures themselves are shabby, window frames are not level while the precast walls at all the classrooms are balanced by wooden trusses to prevent them from falling.

The classrooms will add to a number of structures at the university campus that have gone incomplete for years, with the institution blaming it on the unavailability of funds. Sunday

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