By Our Reporter
Three primary school teachers have appeared before the Masaka Magistrate’s court for allegedly leaking Primary Leaving Examination (PLE) scripts to candidates via social media. The suspects are Robert Kintu, Vincent Atukwase, and Waneslaus Twongyeriwe.
The Masaka Chief Magistrate, Sylvia Nvanungi read for the accused two counts of aiding and abetting examination malpractices and unauthorized possession of examination materials under section 25 of the UNEB Act, 2021.
According to the charge sheet, the suspect committed the offenses between November 8th and 09th this year, when they leaked the examination scripts to various schools within the Masaka region.
The prosecution led by Pricilla Nakika, the Masaka Assistant State Attorney told court that the accused person abused their responsibilities as examination supervisors when they stealthily opened the PLE parcels and circulated the scripts to various schools ahead of time.
According to the new UNEB Act, “any person who willfully attempts to gain possession of any examination paper or any part of an examination paper, material, or information commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding one thousand currency points or a term of imprisonment not exceeding five years, or both.”
Section 25 (2) of the same Act also states that any person who intentionally or negligently aids or causes any candidate to receive or gain unlawful possession of examination material is subject to a fine of up to 20 million shillings or 5 years in prison or both.
Meanwhile, although the suspects denied the offenses, the prosecution insisted that they had gathered enough evidence implicating them in the offenses and prayed that they are charged accordingly.
The trio applied for bail in vain due to the lack of substantive sureties. She accordingly remanded the suspects until Monday when their second bail application will be considered. Anne Kembaali, the Principal Legal Officer at the Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB) told our reporter outside the court that the suspects were arrested on a tip-off from a whistle-blower about their involvement in malpractice.
According to Kembaali, the board sent out a special investigative team that collaborated with the police and eventually caused the arrest of the suspects.
In the same development, our reporter has learned that the examinations body, working with the police, is investigating a host of schools across the country linked to this Masaka cartel. The names of schools that are under probe have been withheld to avoid jeopardizing the process. The examination cycle in Uganda is increasingly marred by malpractice, with thousands of results being withheld annually.
Commercialization of the education sector is one of the many causes contributing to the vice, which has gradually crept into Uganda’s education system. Each year hundreds of examination results are withheld due to malpractice. UNEB has often blamed the weak laws for the continuing vice. However, with the new Act, the board has had a robust mechanism for spotting and tracking suspected malpractice.