How top KNEC officials and school heads leak exams

Dr Fred Matiang'i Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Education PHOTO: JONAH ONYANGO/STANDARD.
Shocking details of how national examinations are leaked, cartels involved and secrets of the illegal movement of papers can now be revealed.

The Standard on Sunday exclusively obtained a confidential report by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) that exposes the intricate web of a well-established criminal enterprise in examination cheating by state officers.

The report captures well-choreographed schemes employed by cartels that manage examination leakages and how millions of shillings have been minted in the process since 2011.

The controlling cartel is domiciled at the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec), the body entrusted to manage the integrity of all national examinations.

So damning are the findings that the report, which has already been shared with the Ministry of Education, concludes: “In a nutshell, Knec security systems form a cartel likened to the story where the hangman has already been compromised by the convict. In case an intervention by the ministry is not done immediately, then what happened in 2015 is just a shell broken off from a time bomb which is yet to explode with a loud bang.”

Highlights of specific cases involving examination leakages have been listed, sucking in school heads, Knec officials and the police.

In some schools like Sheikh Khalifa in Mombasa County, a specific fee charged on all students annually ends up in the pockets of the Knec security cartel in exchange for examination leakages, the report reveals.

In the 2011 national examinations at Sawagongo High School in Siaya County, Thomas Mckenzie and Maundu Matenzawa  described in the report as Knec officers A and B respectively, are said to have found the principal, a Mr Kaunda, with leaked examination materials for papers slated for that week and subsequent weeks.

Kaunda was arrested and locked up in police custody. However, his principal colleagues contributed money and  bribed police officers and the said two Knec officers. The principal was released forthwith - he was never charged before a court of law nor the results of the school cancelled.

In the same period, another principal identified as Mr K’Auko caused the cancellation of results for two different schools -- Obambo Secondary School and Otieno Oyoo School -- when he was found in possession of leaked examination papers.

Instead of being prosecuted, says the report, K’Auko was transferred to Onjiko High School (situated near the Ahero/Kisii junction).

Here, says the report, he bought exams without being immediately detected and the school’s performance shot up sharply after many years of poor performance. This principal was interdicted later for money laundering. He would later be reinstated and posted to head Thurdiburo High School in Nyakach Constituency, Kisumu County.

It’s further reported that during the 2011 national examinations, the principal of Kanga Boys High School in Migori County had all the examination papers for that year. Although Knec obtained this information, it chose to narrow down to the mathematics paper. Results for two candidates were cancelled in the process. Detectives say Knec officer B was bribed with an unknown amount of money in this incident.

During the same period, detectives established that the same Knec officer B got information that Nyakach Girls had leaked Biology Paper 1 scheduled for the following day.

In the company of another unidentified man, KNEC officer B entered the school at 5:30am and went straight to the Dining Hall. Here, he found two ladies coaching candidates.

Bribes

The two ladies and the candidates took off frantically, dropping the materials which were picked by the said Knec officer as evidence. The exhibits were never delivered to the research and quality assurance department of KNEC and the two ladies did not get charged.

Knec officer B was allegedly bribed with Sh1 million and the school’s results were never cancelled. Obera Secondary School in Ndhiwa Constituency, Homa Bay County, had its 2011 results cancelled. The then principal, identified as Duncan Juma Osodo (now an employee of the County Government of Homa Bay), is said to have bribed former Knec boss Paul Wasanga and a Mrs Eddah Ikumi Muiruri for the results to be released. The principal, probably due to excitement, says the report, went to the then Nyanza Provincial Director of Education, identified as Mr Cherongis (now TSC County Director Nairobi) informing him that his school had excelled yet it was not ranked.

Mr Cherongis then called the CEO. Strangely, this time, the CEO ordered nullification of the results, yet a portion of the candidates had been issued with result slips.

Similarly, between the year 2012 and 2013, Genevieve K’Opiyo, a Knec officer, went out on KCSE monitoring within Nairobi County. She bumped into candidates revising a  photocopied Knec examination paper and took a snapshot of the same.

She called Knec officer B, the CEO and two other senior officials (Joyce Sabari and Diana Makau) to report.

Strangely, says the report, each of the four officers called back with the same message that she was to take the recovered material to “him /her” alone.

A similar frustration is reported to have been experienced by a senior Knec officer who unveiled a mass cheating network while monitoring both KCPE and KCSE examinations in North Eastern. The report says she did her best but due to fear for her safety, she concentrated on her life rather than what she had netted.

The report paints a picture of an institution where officers serve at the behest of the cartels and will never report such cases for fear of reprisals.

“Most Knec officers serving today will tell you that you try to stand in the line of the ‘Knec security cartel’ then be ready to pay with your life. They usually attribute the sudden death of a junior officer named Anyona to this vice,” reads the report.

In the 2013 KCSE, a Knec officer discovered that one of the mathematics papers had leaked. Somebody had deliberately pierced a carton carrying examination papers printed in the United Kingdom. A fresh paper was printed and the CEO briefed the media that the council was experiencing delays in the release /dispatch of materials.

The tearing of the said carton, detectives established, was done by reprographics personnel allegedly under leadership of Knec officer B. The crash printing caused Knec to contract a private company based on Likoni Road. Employees here leaked the remedial paper again.

During the same period, a Knec officer discovered live exam materials for that week and subsequent weeks copied in candidate’s notebooks as he was monitoring in Mombasa. The school’s results were never cancelled.

In 2014, the report says, the cancellation of Kisii School’s results was disclosed by Knec officer A one day before the examination results official release. This is an offence which can result to immediate summary dismissal, but although this information was made available to the council, nothing was done to the offending officer. In 2014, a Knec officer paraded an informant to the current CEO (then acting) to disclose a cheating cartel involving KNEC officer A on the way he was leaking exam materials to tertiary colleges at a fee. This information was disregarded.

We are undertaking a survey to help us improve our content for you. This will only take 1 minute of your time, please give us your feedback by clicking HERE. All responses will be confidential.

exam cheatingexam leakageknecfred matiang'i