West Notts College ends use of corporate credit cards after former principal claimed £40k expenses

Vision West Nottinghamshire College, Derby Road, Mansfield.
Vision West Nottinghamshire College, Derby Road, Mansfield.

The college has ended the use of corporate credit cards for senior staff after former principal Dame Asha Khemka claimed more than £40,000 in expenses over five years.

As reported by FE week, a further education news site, spending included visits to fine-dining restaurants, five-star hotels and a private members’ club.

The college revealed it's financial difficulty last year after 100 jobs were axed.

Long-serving college principal and chief executive Dame Asha Khemka stepped down from her £262,000 per year role at the start of October 2018, before the college was placed in “administered” after a report revealed a “serious corporate failure” at the college.

A spokesperson told FE Week: "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.

READ MORE: More jobs face axe at Mansfield’s West Notts College
"The college’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.”

According to documents obtained by FE Week, Dame Asha spent £41,666.96 between 2013/14 and 2017/18 on her corporate card, despite earning £262,000 in 2016/17.

Among the claims was over £11,000 on food and drink, including visits to a Michelin-starred restaurant called Jamavar in Mayfair, London, and numerous sit downs at Anoki, a fine-dining restaurant.

The largest spend was on accommodation, which was largely attributed to frequent visits to India and stays at the “prestigious” Taj Hotel Chandigarh.

READ MORE: West Notts College placed in Administered status
READ MORE: West Notts College seeks £2m loan
A spokesperson for the college added: “The individual to whom these expenses relate to is no longer an employee of the college and, as such, it would not be appropriate to comment further on the detail.”

There is nothing to suggest Dame Asha’s expenses were not in line with the college’s policies or that they were wrongly claimed.

For the full FE Week investigation, click here