Five Knec officials running cartel behind exam leaks, probe shows

Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i with Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang and Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery (left), addresses the Press at Jogoo House in Nairobi when he dissolved the exams council last week. [Photo: Beverlyne Musili/Standard]

A cartel that has existed for years is responsible for national examination leaks.

The cartel involves top officials of the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) and has been operating with full knowledge of the exams body and sections of the police.

According to a confidential report prepared by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), the cartel is headed by at least five key suspects domiciled at Knec. They have been identified in the DCI report as officers A, B, C, D, E.

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The cartel, detectives have said, works closely with a team of principals from various schools and police officers who guarantee them protection.

So strong is the cartel that in the past it has influenced re-setting of examination papers that it would later sell for millions of shillings.

The cartel similarly ensures the papers are only leaked to those who have paid for them and is done in good time to ensure students have enough time to take advantage of the leaks.

For instance in the 2013 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams, one of the mathematics papers had leaked. It was discovered by a Knec officer (name withheld for security reasons).

Somebody had deliberately pierced a carton carrying exams printed in the United Kingdom. A fresh paper was printed and the CEO briefed the media that the council was experiencing delays in release of materials.

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

Equally intriguing is the manner in which promotions at the Kenya National Examinations Council have been done over the past few years. Knec officer B (the Knec security cartel leader), had education background qualifying entry at EC 8/9 but joined at EC 14 and had been fired by former employer.

A nephew of a Knec officer, reads the report, was employed in job group EC 10 but was being paid the rates of officers under job group EC12. This illegality was discovered by the Ombudsman at some stage. The illegal promotion was reversed but money not recovered.

Another case involved a woman related to a former CEO who was employed and placed in ICT in suspicious circumstances.

In 2015, another man was told he didn't qualify to apply for a position he had acted in for more than one-and-a-half years, raising questions on how he had been appointed to act in the first place.

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Other illegal promotions cited in the report include another relative of a former CEO was irregularly promoted in 2012 from job group EC 10 to EC12. Four other people were promoted irregularly from job groups EC 9 to EC11, from EC5 to EC8, from EC11 to EC13 and from EC4 to EC9.

In the 2011 examinations at Sawagongo High School in Siaya County, Knec officers found the principal with leaked exam material for that and subsequent weeks.

He was arrested but other principals contributed money and bribed police officers and two Knec officials. He was released, was not prosecuted and the school's results were not cancelled.

In 2014, printed KCSE and PTE exams were shredded at South C yet the lot was supposed to have only KCSE papers. An official overseeing the exercise was found with PTE, Business and Technical exams yet she was not authorised access to the other exams.

exam cheatingKnecKenya National Examinations CouncilKCSEKCPE