College to cut use of credit cards after former boss racks up £40,000 bill

Dame Asha Khemka

A cash-strapped East Midlands college says it is clamping down on the use of company credit cards after its former chief executive claimed more than £40,000 over a five-year period.

FE Week reports that West Nottinghamshire College will end the use of credit cards by its staff after Dame Asha Khemka spent the cash on expenses including “numerous visits to fine-dining restaurants, five-star hotels and a private members’ club”.

According to documents obtained by FE Week, the former chief executive spent £41,666.96 between 2013/14 and 2017/18 on her corporate credit card, despite earning £262,000 in 2016/17. The sum included £11,000 on food and drink.

In a statement, the college told FE Week: “The college has undergone wholesale regime-change both at governing body and senior management level in recent weeks, so this is very much a new era for West Notts.

“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. 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.”

Dame Asha Khemka left West Nottinghamshire College in October after it received a Financial Health Notice to Improve after requesting an extra £2.1m in funding from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).

West Nottinghamshire College said earlier this year that it was having to let 100 staff go in order to make £2.7m worth of savings.