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USSU Sabbatical Officer expenses released ahead of live presidential debate

Documents that detail expenses by University of Salford Students’ Union Sabbatical Officers have been released ahead of the live presidential debate on Tuesday.

The Union receives almost £1m from the University of Salford each year, largely from student tuition fees. Almost 10% is spent on an £18000 salary for five Sabbatical Officers, not including expenses.

Over £4500 was claimed by the Sabbatical Officers between July and December 2017.

Zamzam Ibrahim, USSU President, claimed over £2500 which included £547 on taxis, £139 for a return train journey and £30 for a backrest.

Kobby Ofori, current Science and Technology Officer and presidential candidate in this year’s elections, claimed almost £500 to renew his Visa and £180 for taxis. His expenses totalled just over £1000.

Famous Dekeri, who is rerunning for his position as Business and Law Officer, claimed nearly £200 on food and drink at meetings and social events for the Law Society. Dekeri’s total expenses came to £827.

Arts and Media Officer Jon-Connor Lyons and Health and Social Care Officer Emily Voss-Bevan claimed only £210 between them.

A total of £647 was claimed on unspecified items by all five Sabbatical Officers.

Another document shows the report from latest scrutiny committee meeting, where the Officers were given a score out of four for their year in office.

Zamzam Ibrahim (President) – 4

Jon-Connor Lyons (Arts and Media) – 4

Emily Voss-Bevan (Health and Social Care) – 3

Famous Dekeri (Business and Law) – 3

Kobby Ofori (Science and Technology) – 2

The report highlights the failure of some Sabbatical Officers to fulfil promises they made during the election last year.

Ibrahim was praised in the report as “a poster woman on how to push through and achieve” and should “continue working as she is”.

Ofori was criticised for “projects not completed” and commented on his lack of “knowledge of all sports and societies which he represents”.

However, Ofori was lauded for his work towards a Union housing agency, which the report claimed will “make a big difference to the lives of students at Salford.”

It congratulated Lyons on his work over the past six months “in both the community and for the Union” and said he had “met his manifesto points to a high level”.

Voss-Bevan was applauded for achievements throughout the year, such as her campaign for a drop-in centre for students suffering with mental health issues.

The report recommended Voss-Bevan focus on other issues as well because “from the outside it looks as if she has not completed as much as the other Sabbs.”

Dekeri was praised for his work on the international café but the report said he had a “lack of understanding” of international students and only consulted student reps in the Business school “when discussing his projects”.

The report recommended Dekeri and Ofori both “look over” their expenses, raising concerns about whether Sabbatical Officers are claiming more than is necessary, and how well they are scrutinised by the Union.

Voting for the 2018 Sabbatical Officer elections open on Monday 5th March and closes on Friday 8th March. Find out more about the candidates here.

The Sabbatical Officers have been contacted for comment.

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