Multi agency operations helped to tame exam malpractices, officials say

Deputy President William Ruto shares a light moment with James Everlyne, a visually impaired student at Moi Girl's School, Nairobi. [DPPS]

Security agencies are boasting multi agency operations that were launched at the start of the national examinations helped to tame malpractices in the country.

According to the agencies involved in the operations in the last month, this ensured the exams are not tainted.

As the exam period comes to an end this week, the team operating from Office of the President in Nairobi says they are happy their operations helped in disrupting networks that have been in existence and engaged in malpractices.

The team composed of police and officials from National Intelligence Service and the Kenya National Examination Council say they had been had been searching for one Vincent Meroka Nyasani, who is the ring leader of a cartel involved in exam malpractice among others including Patrick Irungu, Shabaan Omar Ouma, Dick Obure Birario, Marvin Christopher, Oduor Awiti, and Frederick Simba Mageka.

“The group has been operating since 2014 and several attempts to have them arrested and convicted have been futile,” says a police report on the incidents detected.

Nyasani was able to establish a network within the last five years with assistance of Irungu who has a wide outreach of parents, students and teachers. Nyasani was arrested in 2016 and has a pending case before Kiambu Law Courts.

Up to 2015, Irungu was the deputy Head Teacher in Wargadud High School in Mandera County. He would gain access to examination papers through an unnamed local police officer in the county who would open examination packets and take pictures then send to him.

In 2015 and 2016, Irungu was arrested for examination malpractice and has a pending case before Thika law courts.

It is reported that Patrick is being sought after by locals in the county who paid him to deliver exam papers in 2017 but did not manage due to strict measures put in by KNEC. He absconded duties and was interdicted by TSC. He was later reinstated under unknown circumstances and was posted to Kitui County.

According to police investigations, Nyasani built his own network and managed to recruit Awiti to receive and distribute papers on his behalf, and Mageka to run his errands.

“They resorted to recruiting rogue teachers who would open packets before time and share the pictures via WhatsApp where they were all members of the group,” reads part of a police r.

Before his arrest, Nyasani flushed sim cards down the toilet and attempted to destroy his phones. However, it has been confirmed that the phones not completely damaged and that the data is still readable.

A national command centre was established at Harambee House to monitor the progress of the national examinations as part of the efforts the government was making to ensure the exercise is not tampered with or stolen.

The centre was used to coordinate operations of the event in general and was manned by officials from the Ministry of Education, National Intelligence Service, police, prosecutors and other government agencies.

The officials there had the command centre fitted with call centres to receive calls and alerts from the field and mobilise response teams.

The team also had tracking devises to trail any individual suspected or reported to be involved in the examination cheating.

President Kenyatta is said to have ordered the establishment of the centre to compliment the Education ministry’s efforts to tame exam cheating.

More than 30,000 security officials are helping in beefing up security at the centres of examination and where the materials are kept.

Officials aware of the plans said the President ordered all his Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries and other top government officials to be in the field and oversee the exercise.