Prin­ci­pal ran up £40k on col­lege credit card

Nottingham Post - - NEWS - By JOSEPH LOCKER

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.

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