Principal ran up £40k on college credit card
THE former principal of financially struggling West Nottinghamshire College claimed more than £40,000 in expenses on a corporate credit card over the last five years.
Dame Asha Khemka, who stepped down in October last year, racked up the bill after claiming expenses for a number of stays in five-star hotels and even a meal at Jamavar, a Michelin-star restaurant in London’s Mayfair.
The revelation came to light as a result of a freedom of information request. It comes after the college announced, earlier in 2018, that it had asked the Government for £2m in extra funding, which it originally said was because of alterations in the funding of apprenticeships.
However, Dame Asha stepped down after the college said it was struggling to cope with financial difficulties and would have run out of money just 48 hours after the request was made to the Government.
One hundred staff at the college lost their jobs last year and in November, it was announced that a further 78 were facing redundancy to help “correct the college’s finances”.
The college, based in Mansfield, has since stopped corporate credit cards for senior post-holders, a spokesman told the Post. “In light of the financial challenges we face, the new board of governors and management team have imposed strict controls on all expenditure, including expense claims,” he said. “The col- lege’s expenses policy has been reviewed and strengthened, and senior post-holders do not have use of a corporate credit card.
“We are absolutely committed to ensuring we make the best-possible use of public money and to exercising the necessary rigour at all times when making spending decisions.”
Dame Asha had spent more £11,000 on food and drink, according to an investigation by Feweek, and a total of £41,666.96 between 2013-14 and 2017-18. Among amounts claimed on expenses were £500 at a private members’ club and a one-off visit to a Boots store.
Her annual salary in 2016-17 was £262,000.