Deep secrets surrounding ownership of prestigious USIU university

USIU has produced many national leaders and business titans.

A section of the United States International University in Nairobi

The United States International University (USIU) - Africa is one of Kenya’s most prestigious tertiary institutions.

According to the institution, USIU was registered under the Companies Act (Cap 486) on September 18, 1969.

However, many questions linger on who the schools actual owners are despite a probe by Parliament done a few years back.

USIU was founded by William C. Rust, an ambitious educationist and visionary, and has campuses all over the world, from London to Mexico City, Maui, and Nairobi.

Rust’s position as the head of the institution came to an end in 1991 after internal wrangles and financial setbacks.

He was replaced by Freida Brown who took over as the vice-chancellor, leading the institution for 21 years before exiting in 2016.

A year before, former Cabinet Minister Joe Nyaga had told Parliament that the land which the institution sits in was owned by his father the late Jeremiah Nyaga.

I feel my family owns a stake in this university and we should not only be recognised but should also be getting something from its income,” the former Cabinet Minister told a Parliamentary sitting investigating the matter.

It is the controversy surrounding the ownership of the school which led to Ms Brown’s exit from the helm.

According to multiple media reports, the school charter is silent on the dissolution of the university and where the funds, assets, property and liability should revert to in case it would ever be wound up.

Further Documents held by the departmental committee on Education, Science and Technology in Parliament seen by the Nation showed the USIU probe covered property, governance and financial structures of the university.

Machakos MP Victor Munyaka also questioned whether the school was a foreign university operating in Kenya since its parent organisation (USIU San Diego) had tried to sell it.

Ms Brown said the university did not have owner(s) but it was a local institution incorporated in Kenya.

One of the red flags raised by Parliament was that Manu Chandaria was listed a chancellor of USIU despite also serving the same position at The Technical University of Kenya.

The outcome of the probe on the real ownership of the institution is yet to be made public more than 5 years later.

With the retirement of the institution’s current VC, Freida Brown is set to make a comeback as the vice chancellor in an interim capacity effective August 16, 2021 as the school shops for a substantive holder of the office.

The global search for a new Vice Chancellor is expected to be an extremely intense process and is anticipated to last approximately 6 to 9 months. We will do our best to have new leadership on board as early as possible in 2022," USIU Chairman Kris Ole-Senanu said.

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