Only a few hours to kick-start of the 67th graduation ceremony a tragedy happened as 50 students were scrapped of the final graduation over fraud. According to the statement from the office of the academic registrar, “the affected students were smuggled into the graduation booklet and were withdrawn due to failure to meet minimum graduation requirements on discovery that their academic records were altered,” statement reads in part.
The affected students are mainly from the College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) and College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES).
After this an investigation followed and two Makerere University Information Technology (IT) specialists were arrested on Wednesday for allegedly altering students’marks in exchange for money. Jackson Mucunguzi, the MUK Chief Security Officer, says that “The Police arrested the suspects about a year ago but released them due to lack of evidence implicating them, but they have today been rearrested.”
Christopher Ntwatwa and his supervisor, Mike Barongo, both from the Academic Registrar’s office, were picked up from the Senate building on Monday by detectives from the Crime Intelligence and Investigations Department (CIID) headquarters in Kibuli, detained and interrogated for several hours.The suspects were picked up following a complaint by Professor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, the vice chancellor in Charge of Finance and Administration to the Inspector General of Police-IGP, General Kale Kayihura.
Prof. Nawangwe wrote to the IGP on March 6th, 2017 asking him to investigate the marks scandal and take action.“We have received reports about alleged alteration of marks for some students on the University’s Result Management System. This is to request you to urgently send a team to investigate this criminal activity and take necessary action,” reads Nawangwe’s letter seen by URN.
As a result, Kayihura assigned Jimmy Aguma, the Acting Commissioner Directorate of ICT in Uganda Police Force to follow up the matter. Jackson Mucunguzi, the Makerere Chief Security Officer, says police arrested the suspects about a year ago but released them due to lack of evidence implicating them. “They asked us to provide evidence but we didn’t have any because they knew the systems they were running. They managed to walk away scot-free that is why police had to bring IT specialists to investigate the fraud,” said Mucunguzi.
Information obtained by URN, shows that several students were awarded marks for papers they didn’t sit, others had their marks altered while those with retake comments were cleared to graduate after paying the IT personnel.During the graduation week, a total of 50 students were deleted from the graduation list for allegedly bribing their way around.Investigations show that 23 students from the College of Computing and Information Sciences, 22 from the school of forestry and 12 master degree students had been smuggled on to the graduation list.The forestry students were deleted from the graduation list following complaints by Prof. Mnason Tweheyo, the Dean of the Forestry school.
The scandal compelled management to sack. Joyce Namusoke, an assistant Registrar in the school of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences.Further investigations by URN indicate that the marks of two students from the department of Library and Information Sciences were changed and allowed to graduate with retakes.A lecturer, who spoke to URN on condition of anonymity, says the issue of altered marks was discussed in a departmental meeting in March 2015 but the minutes were never submitted for action.“Many others have graduated with many retakes while others were removed from the graduation list. Some have gone to redo the papers. Some students who changed their online marks were blacklisted but we do not know why the minutes were never submitted,” the lecturer noted.The marks scandal raised concern among staffs and generated a heated discussion on the university webmail. Some of the staff accused management of handling the implicated officers with kid gloves and rewarding them with promotions as opposed to punishing them for tainting the image of the institution.In the past, many of the cases of marks alterations have been reported in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the College of Computing and Information Sciences and the College of Education and External Studies (CEES).“Some of us work hard to achieve a good university but others earn from this good work. Can all those of us who desire better continue pressing for answers for the sake of our University, our country and all our dear students that should be genuinely rewarded for their hard work?” one of the staffs complained.
These cases come a few months after management set up a committee to investigate the allegations of alteration of marks at the university. Recently, the university released Shillings 80 million for the committee to commence its work.