A HEADTEACHER splashed cash on £70,000 flights and £300 dinners, a freedom Freedom of Information request has revealed.
Stella Mbubaegbu indulged at Michelin-starred restaurants, luxury accommodation and £434 on designer headphones.
The head of Highbury College in Portsmouth, Hants, warned this year’s budget would be “the hardest for many years”.
Details from the FOI request show she had paid for 30 flights using her college-issued credit card with a £20,000 spending limit, with prices ranging from £200 to £6,000 – adding up to a total of £70,000.
Ms Mbubaegbu splashed the cash over the course of four years and it included two-day stay in London, in which she spent £1,100.
She stayed at the £280-a-night Hilton Hotel in Bloomsbury, where she ordered room service at the four-star hotel for £33.25.
She also stayed at the five-star Conrad St James Hotel in Westminster that cost £369 for the night with an added “accommodation supplement” for £16.
Ms Mbubaegbu also dined at Michelin-star restaurant Quilon, where her bill ran up to £356 – including £111 on drinks.
The lavish meal included a £26 mango chicken starter, a £45 lobster dinner, and others had a £22-a-piece lamb biryani and chicken roast.
She and her companions guzzled two mojito cocktails costing £14 each, £14 margaritas, three Mongoose beers at £7 each and two £11 non-alcoholic “Zingy” cocktails.
‘HARDEST FOR MANY YEARS’
A receipt shows £1 was donated to charity.
The University and College Union’s Moray McAulay slammed Ms Mbubaegbu as “galling” and said the spending “send a damaging message about the college’s priorities”.
Rules at the college were tightened in May, to stop alcohol and lunch from being claimed by staff.
A proposal was agreed that the headteacher’s credit card should have a limit of £2,000 and all foreign travel would need to be authorised by the chair or vice-chair and be second class unless authorised.
Receipts revealed the headteacher also spent £434.86 on Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H8 headphones and £302 on books including one about financial management.
It comes as the college was forced to axe its A-level department, with 20 jobs lost as it focused on practical courses such as bricklaying.
The college is also embroiled in legal battle with the Nigerian state after it sunk £1.4 million into an education project during her tenure, which did not work out.
Minutes from a recent governors’ meeting reveal Ms Mbubaegbu warned the 2019/20 budget would be the “hardest for many years”.
She added: “There was a very limited safety net if cash ran out.”
The principal’s spending on Michelin-starred meals and high-end hotels sends a damaging message about the college’s priorities.
The University and College Union’s Moray McAulay
Between 2014 and 2018, the college paid out £60,000 on hotel stays around the world and mostly five-star accommodation, including trips to the US, Dubai, Saudi Arabia and China.
There was even a bill for a stay at the Marriott Hotel in Portsmouth, Hants, just ten minutes from the college.
Among her £70,000 expenses were receipts for two taxes on the same day in November 2017.
After landing at Heathrow Airport, Ms Mbubaegbu took an executive car to Birmingham, and put her luggage in a taxi back to Portsmouth.
The spending receipts also included £33.70 on a personalised “wave cut” engraved whisky set for Parviz Daneshvar – a long-serving governor who quit in 2018 on July 12.
Four days later a £63 bouquet was bought from Knot Just Blooms Ltd in Portchester.
On the same day £30.95 was spent on a pink Prosecco gift set from Thorntons chocolatier.
A week later she charged £302.53 to her Barclaycard for 16 books from Amazon – including one on financial management.
The FOI request showed credit card statements were signed off by Nicola Youern, who was a former chairwoman of governors.
The University and College Union’s Mr McAulay said: “The principal’s spending on Michelin-starred meals and high-end hotels sends a damaging message about the college’s priorities.
“It is all the more galling given that the college has been pleading poverty on pay – staff have not received a pay rise since 2013 and the college has cut jobs in recent years.
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“Investing in students and staff to ensure the local community can benefit from high-quality learning should always be the college’s top priority for spending.”
A Highbury College spokeswoman said expenses were “approved and authorised and were then subject to independent audit, as is usual practice”.
She added: “The college maintains continuous review of its procedures.”
Stella Mbubaegbu spending
£280 for one night at the Hilton Hotel in Bloomsbury
£369 for one night at the Conrad St James hotel in Westminster
£356 bill from Michelin-starred restaurant Quilon including:
- £26 mango chicken starter
- £45 lobster dinner
- £22-a-piece lamb biryani and chicken roast
- £14 mojito cocktails
- £14 margaritas
- £7 Mongoose beers
- £11 non-alcoholic cocktails
- £1 charity
£33.70 on a personalised engraved whisky set
£30.95 was spent on a pink Prosecco gift
£63 bouquet of flowers
£434.86 on Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H8 headphones
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