By BERNARD MWINZI:
The main source of leaked national examination papers last year was a teacher in Mandera County, a confidential government report has revealed.
The deputy principal of a school in Wargadud, near El Wak on the Kenya-Ethiopia border, confessed to Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) investigators how he had planned to steal the exam since July last year with the collusion of police officers from the region.
According to the report by KNEC and the Directorate of Criminal Investigation, the teacher also detailed how the exam was distributed to his students, who then forwarded it to their friends in Nairobi via mobile phones.
Also involved in the scheme was a student at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, who distributed it widely on behalf of the teacher, also raking in millions of shillings.
Although the report, dated December 5, 2015, says that the teacher was arrested, he has not been charged to date despite giving a secretly recorded confession to criminal investigations officers.
The student, on the other hand, was arrested on Wednesday last week but has yet to be arraigned.
A source, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, told the Nation that the student had been driven to Nyamira, where he is accused of widely distributing photocopies of the leaked exam papers for a fee.
EXAM DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM LOOPHOLES
The findings of the confidential report paint a picture of an exam distribution system that is rife with loopholes. It also questions the wisdom of using police stations as storage centres because this is where the first leakages occur.
The report also exposes the weakness of the KNEC seals system, which the teacher said was “not quite secure as people think.”
In a video recording of the confession, the teacher is seen breaching the seal, taking out exam papers and then resealing the whole package with considerable ease.
The teacher hatched the plot to access the exam papers after realising that his students had not adequately covered the syllabus “due to absence of teachers.” Many teachers had fled the region last year due to terrorist attacks.
The teacher approached a policeman in the area, who linked him up with the officer in charge of the armoury at the police station where exam papers would be stored.
The three hatched a plot where for Sh60,000 a week, one of the police officers would break the seals of exam packages and take photos of question papers using an iPad before resealing the whole package using special glue.
The teacher then approached his KCSE exam candidates, 115 in all, and asked each to pay Sh5,000 for the leaked papers.
The head boy collected the money and handed it over to a teacher at the school, who then handed it over to the deputy principal.
For the entire duration of the examination, the police officer in charge of the armoury passed the material photographed to the teacher in a memory card, earning a total of Sh240,000.
He and his colleague showed the teacher how to break the seals in the second week of the examination, when he informed them that he had been impressed by their expertise and would like to know how they did it.
Other than distributing the exam to his students, the deputy principal sent it to a colleague in Nairobi, who in return sent him a total of Sh200,000, the report shows.
Investigators obtained the bank and M-Pesa statements of the deputy principal. The records show that in the period of the exam, the teacher received payments worth about Sh1.5 million, via his Co-operative Bank and M-Pesa accounts.
“Despite the overwhelming evidence,” reads the report, “it is not possible to effectively prosecute the teacher… since he destroyed all the evidence by burning his mobile phone and iPad.”
It is this last admission that most worries the investigators, who say that absence of hard evidence to convict suspects in court means their investigations do not amount to much.